Friday 1 February 2013

David 1, Goliath 0

It's been a long road eh?

Remember when we heard about PIP? That DLA would be abolished, despite nothing in the Tory manifesto? Remember how we sat, open mouthed at the disgusting proposals? "Bathing" reclassified as a wipe with a flannel FROM THE WAIST UP? Paraplegics "fully mobile" if they used their wheelchairs TOO WELL? The day we heard 500,000 people would lose out entirely? Half a million of the "most vulnerable" cut adrift?

Remember the enormous thrill as Spartacus Report blazed around the world, the report WE wrote, WE funded exposing the government as liars and cheats?

Well my friends, a few weeks ago, this stubborn intractable government finally admitted defeat. The fingers I have in various pies started singing an astonishing tune. The government were frightened. They no longer had the stomach for a fight with the very people the public see ( rightly or wrongly) as the "real disabled". The private Tory polling was atrocious, the public had been rallying to our cause for longer than the Tories were admitting. Backbenchers were getting twitchy, ministers weren't sure a daily diet of abandoned cancer patients and cruelly cut off Parkinson's grannies were a good idea in the run up to an election.

Crucially, IDS beloved Universal Credit was falling apart. They finally admitted what we'd been telling them all along. Too much reform, too quickly, with too little evidence. Something had to give, and they decided it would be PIP.

Remember our pause clause? When I went to the Lords and asked them to pause PIP til they got it right, then only roll it out in a small pilot followed by an independent enquiry before it was rolled out nationally? They suddenly gave us all that and more. As a cherry on the top the size of Manchester, they announced they wouldn't even make people with lifetime awards go through the transfer until after the next election. Translation? We'll leave this mess for Labour, or we'll take it on when we've won a second term and we can be as foul as we like again.

But campaigners weren't satisfied. We wanted the phrase "reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely fashion added to the legal regulations, meaning people with fluctuating conditions would be as well covered as everyone else. Yesterday, they agreed to that too. I'm having to write my blogs from a hospital bed with nothing but my iPhone, so can't attach links, but perhaps others will be good enough to post them in the comments section.

Official government figures, say some will still be pushed through the test before 2015 - those who don't have lifetime awards, around 30% of the total. However, the terribly accur little birdies who got me this far, tell me there may well be just a fizzle. A long pilot, a longer review, a quiet little sigh of defeat.

Now, hard as it is, let's not gloat. We'd hate to goad them back into shafting us, but go get your favourite treat and sit in utter satisfaction revelling in the knowledge that we won. They gave up. We were just too effective, too noisy, too clever, too dangerous.

You did it. You never gave up, you trusted me when I said there was always hope and you won.

Spartacus warriors you are stronger than mountains.

and you won.

You did it. You never gave up, you trusted me when I said there was always hope and you won

Sparta us warriors, you are stronger than mountains.. It does that 



  2. PIP assessment guidance to be further strengthened in law


    As suggested, here's a link to the story.

  4. Oh Sue, I'm crying. Thank you. So much thanks goes to all the Spartaci who did so brilliantly on research and lobbying and fighting. But for me, you were the one that kept me hoping. Now I feel that I can breathe a bit - there might be some support for me when I really need it.

    To anyone still sad about the things we haven't yet won, I would say this is a huge victory and a classic Government cave-in. The UK government doesn't cave too often, and it only does it when there is no other option. This looks small compared to the huge fight won in the Lords, but in real-life terms it is huge. And it was done by people considered weak and useless by that very same Government. People I work with have paid teams and research budgets and plane tickets and conferences to do this kind of thing, and if they get a result like this they celebrate wildly and everybody puts it on their CV.

    Thanks a million to everyone who worked so hard, and I hope you all - especially Sue - get some rest and time to look after yourselves.

  5. Well done everyone who campaigned on this issue, a very good result (I hope)

  6. This is good news: I just hope it doesn't come at the expense of something else. I don't trust this government one iota.

    1. Me neither. The thugs known as the Coalition government - really the Tory Party - are just as likely to get fixated and obsessed on some other ignoble action to get rid or the sick, the ill and the disabled, because the damn blighter's keep fighting back.

  7. OMG...I can't believe it! So happy! Thank you Sue, and everyone else ho put in so much work and held it all together, and kept on holding on. And to everyone who had a part in this, fact checkers, journos who helped get the truth out there, MP's who cared - God bless you all!

  8. I.. remain cautious, because it boils down how it's implemented by individuals. It certainly will be a big step up for future appeals. But yeh, cautious hat off :) One step beyond!

  9. Well done Sue - my thoughts are with you.

  10. Well done Sue. Im really sorry I missed it I was in hospital and I am out of the LBC radio station area. I am trying to get hold of the show but its not being uploaded yet. But I would like to just say thankyou for your hard work. And If you ever need us to be with you - you just have to ask. We will all work together, if its flooding out MP`s to flooding IDS mailbox or whatever will give you more power, then were here. They say one person can make a difference and your that person!

    1. Hello again just reading the blog. You say "We wanted the phrase "reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely fashion added to the legal regulations" Are you fighting for both the disabled and the sick? So for my ignorance, Like I said above I have been in hospital for a fair while now and I can only send a message when some one visits with a phone :(
      Thanks again

    2. Yes Sue and the other Spartaci are indeed fighting for both chronically sick and disabled people. DLA/PIP can be applied for when one is affected by sickness or disability.

    3. Mark - it is the "Reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely fashion that was precisely so important for people with chronic illness and fluctuating conditions.

      I might be able to collect my kids from school one day, but I can't do it reliably

      I might be able to walk into the supermarket, but I could t do it repeatedly.

      In theory I can cook a meal, but I can't do it safely

      And I can tidy up sometimes, but DEFINITELY not in a timely fashion.

      This is why it was SOOO important to have the phrase enshrined in law, so that ppl with illnesses were covered just like those with more physical disabilities

    4. Thankyou I really appreciate your work!

  11. I still don't trust the Government but concessions and partial climb-downs are always welcome; well done so far.

  12. I expect to see the bedroom tax, the Overall Benefits Cap and Universal Credit all go the same way, eventually dwindling off into the distance. Let's not forget who really runs this country - we the people, and there's some Americanisation for Dave to applaud. The problem we do have is that through ignorance we're misdirected into doing things, taking and applauding actions, against our best interests. We're kept ignorant because it suits a tiny minority who keep much of the true wealth and riches of this planet to themselves. This ignorance is starting to break down down now, this is the information age and we're finding out all kinds of things some would prefer we had no idea of. That said, we can expect a direct assault on the freedoms of the internet no matter who gets in in 2015 (and that's if they're even going to bother having an election). Be ready. And well done to everyone!

    1. Well done to Sue and all the brave and persistent campaigners! Imagine a govt that forces disabled and sick people to have to fight to stay alive.

      Here is another little spook news story which sums up IDS -

  13. Bravo to all the brave people who have faught for what is right
    god bless each and everyone of you
    thank you

  14. Well done to all Spartaci who worked tirelessly, in detriment to their own health. Those of us who supported you from the beginning can also feel good that we helped, if only by RT-ing and sharing links, but Sue and others like her started this little ball rolling until it became an unstoppable boulder. Kudos to Spartaci everywhere. WE ARE SPARTACUS!

  15. Sue I hate to say it but I remain, yours truly, Mrs MardyOldGit... in other words I Don't Beleeeeve It! I am amazed, and if what you say is true, I am deeply, deeply awed by what we have done. Now look after yourself you hear!

  16. Well done for all you hard work! Only last Saturday my DLA re assessment notice came! On a positive note its before PIP but Ive heard they've already tightened up the criteria! So dreading it just as much! :(

  17. It's a long tunnel, but it looks like Sue has managed to get a chink of light to be visible....... Thank you so much for all you do for us all :-)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I sincerely hope so for everyone's sake.

      As for the mentality so far shown by IDS and co and Lord Freud - Minister for Welfare Reform with their complete disregard for the lives of the sick and disabled i would say it would be foolish to right the likes of him off he can be deadly all the time he remains a minister the same for IDS

      What you have done sue as I've always said has been remarkable and pray that the good lord look after you and guide you at all times as without you all would be lost

      sometimes in life a odd person strolls by in life to do genuine good and that's you sue

      take care and as always my very warmest regards to your family

  18. Fantastic news!! I can't tell you how emotional I just got reading that. I'm a little bit overwhelmed...

  19. Congratulations Sue and all of Spartici for your tireless work. You should all feel very proud of yourselves. You have provided the light to lead the way for others to feel perhaps a little more enabled and able to contribute themselves even if it is to simply retweet links etc. I know it has often been at the expense of your own health but you have continued to lead the way. So many people have so much to thank you for, many who are ignorant of the current situation and have never heard of Spartacus. So from myself and others a huge thank you and big hugs. xx


  20. You're a star, Sue, and my admiration for your determination, knows no bounds. I can't quite breathe a sigh of relief since I, too, distrust the Govt and am very cautious about celebrating too soon. Having said that, your positivity is worth taking on board and celebrating. Congratulations to you and everyone who has doggedly kept going!

  21. Congratulations! I read some of your blog posts on this previously, I am SO glad that you have fought hard and won this victory.

    I'm not affected by this, but I always try to put myself in another's shoes, something I think is often lacking in this "why should my taxes..." culture that we've found ourselves in since this disgusting lot came to power and pitted every man, woman, neighbour and dog against each other.

    Well done!

    1. Christina
      thank you so much for your very kind words I'm sure everyone who reads this blog will endorse that and take comfort that their are people like you around looking in and showing support

  22. Massive thanks & congrats on this! However I am still concerned,my DLA is due for renewal later this year & I'm unfortunately in the area that's supposed to trial PIP. Its causing worry even now for myself & others...

  23. Thankyou so much Sue. Your (our) values are the best.

  24. Huge well done, Sue! Hope this is a really positive omen for your surgery on Monday - what a good feeling to take with you into your recovery!

  25. Congratulations Sue and all the Spartaci team.

    As someone with a minor disability, I've been aghast at what has been done supposedly 'for the good of the country' and 'in my name' to whose in most need of support.

    It is truly a day to celebrate your victory ...........then tomorrow, we can start on the next mountain!

    Best Wishes Sue

  26. The tide is definitely turning in our favour - the climbdowns are coming thick and fast. ESA is still proving difficult - seems to be one step forward and two steps back - but we mustn't give up.

    (Thanks Sue, one hundred million times for all the hard work you put into the Spartacus report - you have saved many lives!)

  27. An incredibly sad day for hard working taxpayers.

    What do you suggest is done by families that neither sick or disabled but claim benefits just because they are plain lazy? Leave them alone too to suck the system dry??

    1. I am a hardworking tax payer. I am also sick and disabled. People who are 'plain lazy' always have a choice. The truly sick and disabled don't.

    2. The troll above is American, and has no right to air his views about the British Welfare State. If you check the timings of his posts, you will see that he cannot possibly be on usual working hours, or even working shifts, so could be posting from outside the UK. Alternatively, he may well be on benefits himself, and is so consumed with guilt and self-loathing that he takes it out on legitimate claimants like all those here, whilst continuing to defraud the UK taxpayer (me, and others) himself. What a con artist...

    3. you're an ignorant shit arent you daniel just from your words and naivety I doubt you've ever worked of if you did you may have trialled a bit of 9-5 and found it wasnt for you and benefits were a better option. Clearly you've never heard of being on-call and the idea of working at night is an alien concept to you but again for you its curtains closed, nicely tucked up and benefits in pocket right??? Since you aint a taxpayer to say you are legitimate is pretty loose, more like you are playing the system.

      I look forward to the day soon Danny when people like you end up in a storm drain and I see you appearing on a Panorama show in the future reminiscing over good times in the past when you had a house paid for by someone else, internet paid for someone else, heating paid for by someone else, you get the picture? However now due to pressure from the working population who keep the country going people like you are literally up 'shit creek'. When that time come there will be a change in this country's fortunes.

      Just listening to the radio this morning it is astonishing to hear people saying they cant find work for many years yet we will have millions coming from other countries who can find work literally a few weeks after arrival. Depends on your mindset basically. If you want to work and are determined you can, if you want to avoid work then that is also possible with a combination of JSA/ESA/Fit-note merry go round with a DLA claim thrown in for good measure due to dubious mental health issues e.g anxiety.

      All working people know the solution is stop the benefits. Let people decide their own fate sink or swim. Up to you Danny what you choose, if nothing then a storm drain is waiting for you with your name on it and I cant wait for that time!

    4. Once again you prove that you are American, and you don’t even know you are doing it (and I am certainly under no obligation to explain it to you). Your pernicious and bigoted posts are irrelevant to everyone here. You are motivated by cruelty and hatred. It is not what you say that is troubling, because it’s complete tosh, but the fact that you are someone walking the streets under the pretense of being normal when you are not.

      But perhaps that is not the case, and that you are already locked up somewhere. That must be a possibility. If it is not so today, maybe it will be soon.

    5. In my experience, people who advocate the 'sink or swim' approached have never felt what it's like to sink. The problem with sickness and disability is that it often comes so unexpectedly... a virus, a car crash, a slip on the stairs, and one's life changes forever.

      Don't imagine for one moment that you are somehow above this, or that you will cope differently because the truth is that nobody knows until it happens to them.

      There is no dividing line between those who pay and those who benefit. Many on benefits pay tax. Many benefits, including carer's allowance are taxable. Personally I have no problem with showing care for and compassion towards others.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. (post deleted and then re-posted after editing)

      d5, Language, language!

      Also facts. There are something like 5 unemployed people for every vacancy. Even if every last foreigner was prevented for applying for a vacancy there would still not be enough jobs for the UK healthy unemployed. Determination does not force firms to create extra jobs.

      If "all working people know the answer is to stop the benefits," then that can be done pretty quickly. There's something like 30m people in work. If you set out to get all these people, who already agree with you (by your account) to put pressure on the politicians then your wish should be granted quite quickly.

      Many of those working, however, are on benefits too - the low-paid on tax credits, even those on above-average income get child benefit and seem curiously unwilling to give it up. Perhaps your "abolish all benefits" platform would not be as universally supported as you maintain.

      The there are the benefits on kind - starting with health and education. Maybe you agree with those Americans who think that state-provided health is an abomination - giving the feckless poor care for lung cancer brought on by smoking and not charging them for it.

      They think that being poor is a life choice - nobody needs to be poor if they don't want to - so everyone could afford private health care, if they wanted to. Do you resent Sue's health care as much as you hate any disability benefits she may get?

      We could keep going on through the card - state pensions, publicly-funded education, community rat-catchers and rubbish collecting, public libraries. I'm betting that you are in favour of publicly funded policing to protect your property from other people's greed.

      But facts are not really the point, are they? The point is your hate at the thought of sickness and unemployment benefit. It's not really rational - hate rarely is - it's a high that keeps you going in bad times.

      You're coming here to get some sort of result. I don't know what. Maybe you want to make Sue or her readers feel bad about themselves - that's probably what you tell your mates. I suspect you want to get in a swearing match, a flame war, matching hate with hate to keep the adrenalin flowing. Maybe you just want an audience think and having a sort of psychological bowel movement in public is the way to do it.

      Like Daniel on another post, I'm giving you that audience so that any casual reader doesn't think your attacks have gone undefended.

      I also want any readers of this blog to know that posts such as yours are not, at bottom, about them. They are about your fears and your need for hate. It's very sad and distressing to some, but should not be taken too seriously.

    8. Our troll friend here understands the motives of the people on this blog purely in terms of lying and cheating. The mere fact that they are claiming social security benefits, in his mind, makes them dishonest and fraudulent.

      He has no argument for this bigoted position, and despite numerous attempts on the part of several particants, replies only with more bigotry.

      I am not calling him a bigot as a term of abuse, or to be rude, but simply as an expression of fact. He has no basis, evidence, or argument for his false views, and because his false views are harmful and demeaning to decent people, that makes him a bigot.

      The fact that he explains the actions of benefit claimants in terms of dishonesty and fraud, to my mind, establishes the strong likelihood that he is possessed of these qualities himself, probably to the extent that they frame and dominate everything he does in life, probably even forming the basis of family relationships. From his persective, the only way he can comprehend the motives and actions of other people, especially strangers, is in terms of deceit, fraud, and criminality. He sees other people only in the mirror of his own dishonesty.

      My responding to his posts rapidly took as its objective the exposure of this fact, that he would more thoroughly and completely expose his, what shall we say, questionable personality.

      This unfortunate person is in all probability disabled themselves, by some sort of mental illness (as a previous poster remarked on a different comment thread): possibly schizophenia, or some other personality disorder. This unfortunate person really deserves pity, because their personality is in such a state of disorganisation and turmoil, consuming itself with hatred which is burning away any capacity for them to see the world and engage with others as a normal human being, that the only remedy they can understand is to lash out at other people, as in this case, blaming them for offenses of which they are quite innocent.

      If we could throw off our illnesses and disabilities by magically becoming this person, none of us would make that choice, because we know that we are better off as we are.

    9. Quite hilarious Danny your musings I'm sure will warrant a column in the Guardian soon. No idea where you get this 'American' idea from if you looking at ip's then I am amazed that even someone with your paucity of cerebral activity doesnt know they are about as much use as sun cream in a flash flood.

      I wish I was American to be honest. Then at least I would be paying less tax and what little tax I do pay wouldnt be going to support the likes of you as the Americans have become the Number 1 economy by having a policy of leaving wasters like you to their own devices. Sadly here half my income disappears into the pockets of ravenous addicts like yourself. That is addicted to money you havent actually earned yourself naturally.

      I actually feel sorry for you Danny as without your handout where would you be? Begging? Certainly not online as you wouldnt have a computer. You actually feel no shame in having to bludge of others which is quite astonishing. You contribute nothing to society and are a burden to everyone that has the misfortune to cross your self-indulging path.

      Come on IDS thats what the reforms are about. Pull the plug on people like Danny. Lets see how big his mouth is when he hasnt got his handout anymore. Then the muppet will know his value and role in society that being zilch and without his handout lets see how far he gets if anywhere!

      Quite disturbing if only 30 million in this country work. Then what do the other 55% of the population do? So we have a country where the minority work. Also a perverted society where those that contribute the most have child benefit taken away from. How does that work? Only one solution then is to abolish child benefit then noone gets it so no reason to complain. That will save a few billion. Get rid of housing benefit too - overnight you save £24 billion. The Tories at least realise welfare is a bottomless pit and people who are just a drain on society will continue to be so unless something is altered.

      Its no wonder people in the media comment how IDS is a breath of fresh air to the problem of welfare leeches. IDS sees people like Danny as nothing more than a nuisance but one that costs the country significant amounts of money. So why bother with people like him? In the USA he would have been cast to the 'storm drain' a long time before he ever knew what a blog was. Let him fester to his own devices without his handout and we'll see what happens. IDS people who work hard support you and want to see people like Danny who probably has Picks disease confined to the scrap heap.

    10. d5, What do the non-working population do? Well, there are babes in arms, children in school, students at university (though many work these days), people staying at home to look after the young, the old, the elderly and the disabled and then there are the pensioners, who form an increasingly large proportion of the population.

      BTW, do you consider that those who stay at home to look after children or dependent elderly relatives are "of no value to society?" They are not "in employment" but most people would consider that they were "working" - even if they are not paying income tax on their lack of income.

      Meanwhile the marketing man who spends his life trying to persuade others to buy cigarettes is in "paid employment" but is his work "of value to society" - apart from the tax revenue?

      Now, you seem to think that, "Sadly here half my income disappears into the pockets of ravenous addicts like yourself." By which logic you must believe that all or most of your taxes go to those on sickness, disability or unemployment benefit.

      A conservative MP recently calculated the breakdown of tax for someone on an annual income of £25,500 (I'm not quite sure why that figure was chosen - perhaps it's an average salary.)

      Tax breakdown for £25,500 salary

      £2,080 Pensions and Benefits
      (including £212 on Housing Benefit
      £296 on sickness benefits)
      £1,094 on the NHS
      £824 on Education
      £339 on Defence
      £160 on the Police
      £92 on Roads
      £71 on Railways
      £59 towards overseas aid
      £44 on Prisons
      £28 to the EU

      So from that salary (at a very rough calculation) about 10% goes on benefits and, IIRC, at least half of that goes towards the state pension.

      The amount that goes on sickness benefit is, by these figures, about 1% if that salary. Rather less goes on Housing Benefit, which is paid to those in work as well as out of work.

      Naturally, much of the NHS budget goes on the sick and most of the education budget goes to those who are not in paid employment. I think that situation is rather the point of the health and education segment of public expenditure - don't you?

      I don't expect either facts or logic to make much difference to you, d5. But, if you are capable of distancing yourself from this addiction to hatred, I ask you to think.

      Do you really want to be the sort of person who is desperate to see anyone who is too sick or too old to earn money die in the streets? They will not just "disappear down a storm drain," you see - they will have to die where you can see them as you do not want them housed anywhere else. Wanting people to suffer or die so you can save money is very corrosive to the soul.

    11. I suggest you go to other countries like the USA and see how they deal with people that contribute nothing to society. Yes they do occupy storm drains etc but the key thing is that the cities are organised so yes these people who in the UK sit comfortably at home on benefits in the USA do just wander the streets but in parts of town that working people never have the need to venture into so no to your theory, working people there never have to interact with these people or even know they exist!

    12. d5, now that is definitely trolling. I don't think anyone needs to have that last post answered. So I won't.

  28. YOU did it.

    Thank you.

  29. Fantastic, stirring news - never give up, folks!

  30. That's wonderful Sue. Thank you again for everything you do to fight for us. I am pleased to see that everyone is ignoring the idiot troll who becomes more pathetic with every post they write.

  31. wow this news is fantastic, it has come on a day where i can barely place 1 foot in front of the other due to massive neuropathic pain......i would cry if i had anything left in the tank after years of fighting and appealing...FINALLY!!!

  32. A hearty well done.

    I think you are spot on about the Coalition's motivations here, they got the Fear, and its
    only because people informed themselves and others. Their Mask started to slip, so they've
    retreated behind the curtain again.

    Be proud, but be Vigilant.

  33. i don't know if anyone hear saw the welfare reform committee on the 28th of January with lord David Freud ?

    The chairman of the committee was looking at lord freud as if to say "are you for real" As for my take on this meeting i found it the most bizarre speech i have ever listened to

    lord freud was banging on about the housing benefit and the universal credit but hadn't a clue on how to string along any of the policy to make was he was saying coherent

    no wonder the chairman and i listened in dismay as neither of us could make head not tail of all the drivel coming out of lord freud's mouth

    I have listened to this speech many times and i still don't understand on any of the logic involved as it makes no sense at all

    God help me that's all i can say

    1. Nick, can you give me an idea of approximately how far into the recordings of those hearings I have to go to catch Freud?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. hi carruthers
      i watched it last night on the parliament channel the repeat showing at 9.20 pm but it's now coming up as

      (Not available)


      Select Committees :
      Welfare Reform Committee

      Session on the implementation of welfare reform by local authorities, from 28 January.

      (Not available)

      As i said above Freud was talking way out of from that of any normal person to understand hence the committees faces

      They should have stopped him in his tracks and told him to speak in a way that people could understand and not carry on talking utter garbage lasting over 3 hours

      What freud was saying was if only everyone was as skilled as me all systems would be go now but instead he had to say that implementations with the councils etc would take a few years to get things up and running

      freud come across to me as a con and with regret i didn't understand a word and that is very unusual for me to not understand anything of a meeting

  34. TROLL:- One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a blog without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a scrounger' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

  35. DEALING WITH A TROLL:- Ignore the troll utterly and completely. Behave as though the troll does not exist. This requires you to not respond with words to what the troll says, but also to not delete what the troll says. This works not because the troll does not receive attention, it works because the troll experiences no amusement.

    This, unfortunately, appears to be much more difficult for some people than it should be. To defeat trolls, it is necessary to eschew any belief that one must always defend against disrespectful treatment directed toward oneself or others. It is also necessary to have patience and to be completely consistent, as trolls recognize this defense and will attempt to wait you out. They will assess the personalities of those involved in the conversation and will tailor remarks to different individuals, aiming outrageousness at some, while attempting subtle inveiglements with others, in order to generate a response. However, if all present consistently and completely ignore the troll for a long enough period of time, the troll will eventually decide that the situation is not worth his/her time, and will leave to seek more profitable hunting grounds.

    1. If his posts were deleted, he would find even less amusement as no one would see them. Besides, there's only one of him, hardly going to take over the world with his hatred is he?

    2. Unfortunately if it's posts were deleted, it would still be getting a reaction and would come back under another name. I agree the troll is pathetic and I'm not bothered by it's posts, I'm bothered by people responding to it as it encourages it and it becomes more productive and some people are more fragile than others and can get very upset by it's hatred.

  36. Stupid spammers now - can these be deleted?

    Someone on PMQs just asked the PM if he was aware that ATOS found Richard III fit for work!

  37. Challenging PIP Regulations: Campaigner Jane Young Wants To Hear From YOU

    If you can act on this information, we need to hear from you QUICKLY

    On Tuesday 5 February, the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 were passed by the House of Commons Eleventh Delegated Legislation Committee. The debate lasted just a little over an hour, very few members of the committee contributed and all voted along party lines. And that was it. Regulations which determine the independence and well-being of almost 2 million disabled people were dealt with quickly and quietly, like some routine to be got out of the way.

    But this is NOT routine for disabled people. Across the length and breadth of the UK disabled people’s lives will change immeasurably as a result of the vote this afternoon. Many will find the long term support provided by Disability Living Allowance stripped away by the application of a rigid and limited set of activities and descriptors. In particular, people with mobility impairments who can walk more than 20 metres but not more than about 50 metres may lose their vital Motability vehicle (or other independent mobility solution funded by their higher rate mobility component DLA) and, with it, their independence.

    But the fight is not yet completely lost. Our lawyers (Leigh Day solicitors and human rights barristers from Doughty Street Chambers) advise that this lowering of the distance criteria from 50 metres to 20 metres could be unlawful and are considering how we can challenge the regulations. But to do so, of course, we need claimants whose circumstances make them suitable candidates to participate in such a challenge. For the best prospect of success, the barristers have set the following criteria (some essential, some desirable):

    Essential criteria

    These are the essential attributes of a suitable claimant for judicial review of the 20-metre walking distance criteria for enhanced mobility component of PIP:
    Eligible for legal aid – check your eligibility at
    Currently have a DLA award including Higher Rate Mobility component
    DLA award NOT due to expire until after October 2013
    On re-assessment under PIP, whenever that occurs, is at risk of losing out on the enhanced mobility component of PIP because they can walk over 20 metres or so but cannot walk up to 50 metres. This probably means their mobility is stable – either until the expiry date of their current award (if it is time limited), or until at least 2015 (if their current award is indefinite).
    Does NOT have any difficulty planning or following a journey (eg due to mental health, cognitive or sensory impairment)

    Desirable criteria

    These additional criteria are desirable (but NOT essential) attributes of a suitable claimant:
    DLA award expires/due for renewal soon after October 2013
    Has a car or wheelchair accessible vehicle under the Motability scheme
    Has some evidence of the basis on which they were awarded DLA, eg a Tribunal Statement of Reasons, a DWP award letter referring to 50 metres (the figure is in the standard letters), or medical evidence

    If you think you satisfy at least the essential criteria…

    Contact me IMMEDIATELY using the contact form at, explaining that you wish to be considered to take part in a legal challenge to the PIP regulations.

    There’s no time to lose… please share this post everywhere so we have the best chance of challenging the PIP regulations. Thanks!

  38. NHS cover-ups 'should be a crime'

    NHS staff should face prosecution if they are not open and honest about mistakes, according to a public inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital.

    Robert Francis QC delivers his statement, saying: "This is a story of appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people"

    Responding in the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron apologized to the families of patients.

    He said he was "truly sorry" for what happened at Stafford Hospital, which was "not just wrong, it was truly dreadful" and the government needed to "purge" a culture of complacency.

    and the same for IDS and co for allowing many people to die following their assessments from ATOS and then to be told they were fit for work and subsequently dying soon after

  39. I have only just found out about this!! Sue, I have never really spoken with you, but have been following your campaign and relentless, tireless determination to speak for not only yourself, but all of us.
    I know you have also been doing all of this while going through horrendous times with your own health, and I, as someone who was potentially affected by the cuts, just want to say a massive THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.
    You are an inspiration.

  40. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, today said:

    “The Department for Work and Pensions is getting far too many decisions wrong on claimants’ ability to work. This is at considerable cost to the taxpayer and can create misery and hardship to the claimants themselves.

    This poor decision-making is damaging public confidence and generating a lot of criticism of the Department’s contractor for medical assessments, Atos Healthcare – but most of the problems lie firmly within the DWP.

    The Department’s view that appeals against decisions are an inherent part of the process is unduly complacent. Nearly 40 per cent of appeals are successful, with a third of those successful appeals involving no new evidence.

    The Work Capability Assessment process hits the most vulnerable claimants hardest. The one size fits all approach fails to account adequately for mental health conditions or those which are rare or fluctuating. While the Department has started to improve, the process is still too inflexible and too often is so stressful for applicants that their health simply gets worse.

    A key problem is that the Department has been unable to create a competitive market for medical assessment providers, leaving Atos in the position of being a near monopoly supplier.

    The Department is too often just accepting what Atos tells it. It seems reluctant to challenge the contractor. It has failed to withhold payment for poor performance and rarely checked that it is being correctly charged. The Department also cannot explain how the profits being made by Atos reflect the limited risk that it bears.

    There needs to be a substantial shake-up in how the Department manages this contract and in its processes for improving the quality of decision making.”

    Margaret Hodge was speaking as the Committee published its 23rd Report of this Session which, on the basis of evidence from Citizens Advice, Disability UK and the Department for Work and Pensions, examined the contract management of medical services.

    The Department for Work and Pensions (the Department) relies on medical assessments to help its decision makers reach an appropriate decision on a claimant’s entitlement to a range of benefits. Work Capability Assessments are used to assess new applications for Employment and Support Allowance and to reassess existing recipients of Incapacity Benefit. This is damaging public confidence and generating much criticism of ATOS, but most of the problems lie firmly within the DWP. The Department has outsourced this work since 1998 and in 2011-12 paid its contractor, Atos Healthcare, £112.4 million to carry out 738,000 assessments. From April 2013, a new medical assessment will be introduced for the Personal Independence Payment.

    The Work Capability Assessment process is designed to support a fair and objective decision by the Department about whether a claimant is fit for work, but in far too many cases the Department is getting these decisions wrong at considerable cost to both the taxpayer and the claimant. The Department’s decisions were overturned in 38% of appeals, casting doubt on the accuracy of its decision-making.

    Poor decision-making causes claimants considerable distress, and the position appears to be getting worse, with Citizens Advice reporting an 83% increase in the number of people asking for support on appeals in the last year alone. We found the Department to be unduly complacent about the number of decisions upheld by the tribunal and believe that the Department should ensure that its processes are delivering accurate decision-making and minimising distress to claimants.

  41. The Work Capability Assessment process has a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable claimants. The standardised “tick-box” approach fails to adequately account for rare, variable or mental health conditions and this can lead to greater inaccuracies in decision-making for these particular claimant groups. We welcome the efforts made to improve the process and encourage the Department to continue to review the operation of the work capability assessment for vulnerable groups.
    The Department does not know the full cost of the overall decision-making process. Its processes have financial effects across government, for example, in the National Health Service, and high levels of appeals increase the Department’s own administrative costs yet it has not assessed the overall cost to the taxpayer. Without this information the Department will be unable to assess the value for money of its decision-making processes.

    The Department is currently dependent on one supplier to undertake all medical assessments. In the 14 years since the service was outsourced, the Department has never awarded the contract to a new supplier; it has only ever changed hands due to a company takeover. The inability of the Department to develop a competitive market for medical assessment providers has left it vulnerable, with limited leverage to remedy poor performance.

    The Department is not using all the mechanisms it has at its disposal to manage the contract for medical assessments effectively. We saw no evidence that the Department was applying sufficient rigour or challenge to ATOS given the vulnerability of many of its clients, the size of the contracts and its role as a near monopoly supplier. We are concerned that the profitability of the contract may be disproportionate to the limited risks which the contractor bears.

    The Department’s evidence was not always consistent with the views expressed by our other witnesses. We heard different interpretations of statistics such as the proportion of successful appeals, the accuracy of decision-making and on whether overall contract performance is improving.

    As a result the Committee was unable to arrive at a clear conclusion about whether the overall performance is improving and we recommend that the National Audit Office should provide a further report focussing on up-to-date performance data.

  42. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, did not mention on how many people have died whilst going through the welfare reform process which runs into many hundreds a fact that i have reminded her on

    she needs to dig a little deeper so that her accuracy can be improved when concluding a report

    The overall death toll is far more important and yet that statistic is left out of the report no wonder the government of the day and country is in chaos

  43. Very interesting chat with my GP when I went to see him for a private medical.

    As I thought he said there are many of his patients who he feels can work but simply dont want to and use the benefits system to aid that. The idea that every person on benefits cannot work is simply 'poppycock' as he said.

    He said for some patients being ill is a 'profession' in itself and despite being found fit for work they simply have forgotten what it means to work and not reply on handouts.

    Very interesting and great to have a medical perspective on what is going on. He also said its very common for patients to complain about the ATOS doctor but they do it purely in the forlorn hope it will restore their benefit. Fact is it wont so why bother doing it in the first place?


  44. Nick - Thanks for putting all this information on here, I find it very helpful.

  45. Sue - I am thinking of you and would love an update on how things are with you. All my very best wishes.

  46. Bedroom tax: The heart-wrenching letter that shames David Cameron
    9 Feb 2013 22:00

    Julia Jones, who will have to live on just £53 a week, faces losing the home and garden where she scattered her husband's ashes

    Sonja Horsman

    This heart-wrenching letter shames David Cameron and the Coalition Government over their wicked bedroom tax.

    In it, widow Julia Jones, 59, pleads with the PM to consider her plight, the Sunday People reports.

    Julia, who will have to live on just £53 a week, faces losing the home and garden where she scattered her husband's ashes.

    The malicious and divisive tax will punish 660,000 ordinary men and women come April and is rapidly becoming David Cameron's poll tax.

    "Please think again," Julia begs the PM.

    Today everyone should read Julia's letter.

    Dear Mr Cameron

    I heard you in Prime Minister’s Questions say you would look at individual cases on the bedroom tax.

    I am 59 years old, David (my husband) and I have both worked since we were 15, paid taxes, did our bit.

    We have never been well off but we both did worthwhile jobs.

    Five years ago David got melanoma.

    He had excruciating treatment and, although still not well, returned to work as he thought it was his duty.

    Four years ago he got bowel cancer; he had an irreversible colostomy.

    Six months later he returned to work. Two years ago he got brain cancer. Seven weeks later he died.

    Throughout all this I was advised I could get care allowance, but I rejected this: he was my husband, it was my duty to care for him.

    We lived off the little savings we had until we could return to work.

    When he had the colostomy we were allocated this home as David could not climb stairs any more and I struggled.

    Julia Jones standing by the rose bush she planted for her husband
    Sonja Horsman

    His ashes are buried in the garden under the rose bushes that friends gave me instead of wreaths.

    Mr Cameron, my husband and I were the hard workers you claim to support, we never asked for anything.

    I would give everything if this had not happened to us.

    Because we were on benefit and sick, you and your government said hateful words against us.

    Words that made acquaintances look at us with contempt.

    The most powerful men in the country imply we are scum so we must be scum.

    You and your government call us scroungers, next door go to work while our bedroom curtains are still drawn.

    My curtains were still drawn at 11am as the light made David scream with pain.

    Do you not consider that I would give everything for my husband to be alive, me to not have incapacitating pain and we could both be the hard workers we once were?

    I live in small 1 1/2 bed bungalow that was built for older people.

    It is supported elderly living so I feel safe. It could not house a family as under 55s are not allowed.

  47. David Cameron statement on Staffordshire Hosiptal Inquiry

    You now want to take my home from me. The home that literally made my fingers bleed cleaning as it had been neglected for 20 years when we moved here.

    You want me to leave my husband’s ashes, my neighbours who take me shopping and give me some form of social life? I have no family, we could not have children.

    I am living without heating at present so how can I pay what I do not have to stay in my home?

    Have you any idea how that affects my fibromyalgia?

    I eat one meal a day and am in constant pain which is exacerbated by the cold.

    I may get Discretionary Housing Benefit. But we both know that is only for 13 weeks at a time and when the pot is empty, it is empty.

    I have considered moving but the only property available is far from shops and bus stops and costs £98 per month more than where I am at present. I would be living in isolation.

    You say you are building more social housing, but it is too little too late for many of us.

    You may blame the Labour policies, but it was your government who introduced this law so I have to hold you responsible.

    Mr Cameron, I do not believe you or your MPs are evil men at heart, I believe this is an ill-thought-out plan and you did not understand the consequence of your action.

    I ask you to take a step back and look at this again.


    Yours, Julia Jones

  48. Julia Jones writes in her letter:
    >>>I do not believe you or your MPs are evil men at heart<<<

    I think that is a mistake. They know exactly what they are doing, they know exactly what the consequences will be, and they do it anyway. In other words, they are deliberately pursuing policies that harm people, sometimes to the point of causing death. The person who does that is both a psychopath, someone who is incapable of having the normal sorts of human feeling, and a sadist, someone who enjoys watching the suffering that they cause. The briefest way to identify such a person is to say that they are evil.

    1. Totally agree with Daniel, and this is why they are in such a rush, because they want as many people to die quietly before they are forced, by legal processes or possibly even riots,to stop.

  49. They are evil, they know exactly what they are doing, and it's astonishing that the are getting away with murdering people.

  50. Of course I was sitting in my local labour party working mans club when in 2008 Gordon Brown came out with an idea, not a new benefit nope, he was out to end DLA as a wasted benefit, it was the Tories and twelve Labour lefties who said no way.

    Then Gordon stated it should end when you retire same Labour and Tories said nope, then he said OK people sitting in in care homes should have it ended they did not need it.

    So PIPs is rotten to the high hills, but we have a chance we had none under Labour plans, anyone here Miliband s views on anything, nope nor me.

  51. Cant be bad can it? Who says benefits dont pay? No sign of cuts here!

    Home fit for a dole queen: Mother of 11 gets BRAND NEW £400,000 house built by council because she's 'struggling' in her two current homes
    Heather Frost, 36, lives in two houses which have been knocked together
    Has seven children in one house, while the rest live with her in the other
    Now Tewkesbury council has agreed to build her five-bed eco-home
    TaxPayers' Alliance brands move a 'scandalous' use of public money
    First fell pregnant at 14 to a 23-year-old boyfriend who ended up in prison
    Furious neighbour: 'It's a disgrace. She treats her womb like a clown car'

    'Scandalous': Mother-of-11 Heather Frost (pictured) is having a six-bed 'mansion' built for her by the council because she can't cope in her current home
    A jobless mother of 11 is celebrating today after her local council agreed to build her a six-bedroom, £400,000 home to accommodate her massive brood.
    Heather Frost, 36, currently lives in two separate houses knocked into one, which she describes as a 'nightmare' because it is so cramped.
    Now after years of complaining, her local council has arranged for a 1,850 sq ft property to be built for her as part of a new housing development.
    The two-storey eco-home has three bathrooms, two lounges and a huge 355 sq ft kitchen and dining area.
    A local estate agent who studied the plans for the new home believes it could be worth up to £400,000.
    But yesterday Frost, who first gave birth at 14, vowed to demand an even bigger house if she doesn't like her new property.
    She said: 'It's being built especially for me. If I go there and I say to them I don't like it or it's too small, then they will just have to build me a bigger one, won't they.'
    Neighbours today reacted furiously to news of her new home.
    One said: ''It's a complete disgrace. She's got way too many kids as it is. She treats her womb like a clown car.'
    Neighbours say Frost currently lives with 14 people: all her eleven children, two grandchildren and her partner Jake, who they claim is also unemployed.
    The children are Sophie and Toby Stevens, Angel, Jay, Paige, Chloe, Beth, Emily, Daisy, Ruby and Tilly Frost.
    They live in a three-bedroom house in Churchdown, near Gloucester, which has been knocked through into the house next door.

    But Frost says she has been waiting years for the council to provide her with suitable housing.
    'We had to go private for a while and I had seven children in a two-bed house,' she said.
    'Then we got this three-bed house and they knocked a doorway through to the one next door. It was meant to be for four months but we've been here for five years now.

  52. !!Troll Alert!!

    Well d5, aren't you a font of impeccable facts and knowledge...
    A link to the Daily Mail and a unverifiable anecdote of a conversation you once had...

    This is meant to impress us? You really are having a laugh!
    Try actually reading the Spartacus Report, then get back to us. It was authored by folks with FAR more brains, comprehension and actual EXPERIENCE of these draconian measures.

    I know it is akin to shouting into the void to reply to one with such vacuous intellect but I take umbrage at d5's previous assertion that "You contribute nothing to society and are a burden to everyone that has the misfortune to cross your self-indulging path "
    Some of us have worked for several DECADES, not just a month or two! Poor health can strike anyone at any time. It does not prioritise by "contribution to society".
    That is the whole point of National INSURANCE. To not just help ourselves when we need help but to contribute to a society that leaves no-one destitute in their time of need.
    I would not like to live in a society such as you propose, where the needy and sick are left to rot and fester.

    1. It seems this blog is the centre of the trolls universe. To take his grievance to his "private" doctor and have a long discussion about these issues is very strange indeed. Why was the troll going to a private doctor if he lives in this country? And why did a private doctor know all about dealing with issues that normally an NHS doctor would have to deal with? So many questions, and the answer always leads back to - the troll does not even live in the UK. The troll and it's stories are bogus.

    2. if you ask most doctors in the UK plenty work in the NHS and private sector. If you go and see a Consultant in a Bupa hospital you dont think they have an NHS base too!

      Its my choice to go to a private doctor. Why shouldnt I?

      Seems like you are the one who doesnt live in the UK as you have no idea how the system works here and you also feel patients dont have the right to private if they want to! Try telling that to Duchess Kate!

  53. There are plenty that have never worked a day in their life. A recent study by the Taxpayers alliance estimates that around 3 million people have never worked a day in their life!

    Shocking but when its too easy to simply choose from a list of benefits bit like a menu at a restaurant then people will always choose the easy option of sticking the hand out.

  54. Working people fully support the bedroom tax. Why should people who have empty rooms get them for free?

    If you dont like the idea then MOVE! Then you complain oh but how can I afford removal costs, deposits etc. Well sherlock working people have to pay them too you know and working people pay rent you know from their salary, yes that thing you get when you work. I realise its an alien concept to work when its easier to get benefits but thankfully the worm is turning.

    Also its funny to see the list of conditions that people on benefits reel off to justify their handout. They are always the same anxiety, phobias, back pain, ME etc i.e all conditions that doctors doubt have any proper basis other than ££££ claiming.

    Working people feel reforms are not quick enough. Lets see people on benefits get off their backside and earn their keep for once. They have had it too good for too long and they know the game is up once and for all and about time too!

  55. Please do not claim to speak on behalf of the working population.

    My Dad recently passed away from lung cancer (I posted the details on here not so long ago). Atos found him fit for work, despite the fact that he needed extra care. Also consider the extra burden placed upon family and friends who have to stay over and care for a person who has extra needs.

    Now, think very very hard and you will realise why an extra bedroom is necessary for someone with a disability. Also consider how much is saved by not placing that person in the care of the local authority.

    Get it now?

    Can you also see the dire postion family members are put in?

    By the way, (not that it should matter), I run my own business and own my own home and as a working person), do not agree with the bedroom tax for disabled people.

    My Dad worked his entire life. I have a feeling that this is the response you are looking for, but I'll say it anyway - I find your remarks highly distasteful and disrespectful.

    I can see why you are angry, but perhaps here is not the right place to vent your anger. May I strongly suggest you take your views elsewhere, as I very much doubt you will get very little support here.

  56. found this about atos makes interesting reading....

    please pass this on to as many people as you can.

  57. Hi Sue.

    It's been a long time since you've posted. I hope you are okay but I fear you are not.

  58. Just received the DLA to PIP letter and WCA for my wife who has a indefinite award. I guess they lied again!

    Unless i read it wrong

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