Everyone concerned about welfare reform needs to step up to the mark

Declan Gaffney with the latest from the “Spartacus Report” into Responsible Reform of social security.


Responsible Reform (pdf), better known as #SpartacusReport, has attracted more attention than any report on social security that I can remember. Servers crashed as social media were brilliantly used to spread the message the government’s case for cutting disability benefits had been comprehensively rebutted.

One thing that distinguishes Responsible Reform from the dozens of other policy reports that come out every week is that it was produced by disabled people themselves. That alone is a powerful counter to the image of ‘feckless scroungers’ the government has used so successfully in framing the welfare reform debate.

But producing and publicising this report has come with a cost, which Kaliya Franklin of the blog Benefit Scrounging Scum explains and demonstrates in the video below:

Activism takes its toll on people who are already struggling. Both Kaliya and Sue Marsh of Diary of a Benefit Scrounger, the prime movers behind #SpartacusReport, have to take a step back from the intense activity of the last few days for medical reasons.

All those concerned with the issues around welfare reform now need to step up to the mark, bringing whatever they can contribute to the campaign for a decent benefits system for disabled people.

And the costs that Sue and Kaliya have been willing to accept in undertaking this work should be a lesson in humility for the government, which as the report demonstrates, rushed into reform of this key part of the welfare state without taking the time to understand it or listen to those affected.

Today, disabilities campaigners are asking people to call an MP or Peer to raise awareness of the Spartacus report. They’ve also launched a twibbon to show your support. The welfare bill begins its journey through the lords tomorrow, and the next few weeks of the fight will be crucial for tens of thousands of disabled people in Britain. They need your help.

See also:

Disability minister ignorant on how legal aid cuts affecting disabled peopleAlex Hern, January 10th 2012

Time to step forward on the Spartacus reportAlex Hern, January 9th 2012

Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the leftDaniel Elton, January 6th 2012

Five reasons to oppose the welfare billDaniel Elton, December 12th 2011

Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardshipSue Marsh, January 24th 2011

  • Nick Leaton

    Labour was paying out 170K a year to benefit claimaints in Knightsbridge.

    Is that fair?

    Family of 5 kids,

    Housing benefit – 104,000
    Child Tax Credit – 13,337.04
    Income Support – 5,539.67
    Council tax – 2,157.83
    Child Benefit – 3,863.91
    Free Schooling – 6000 * 5 = 30000
    Free Health Care – 1800 * 7

    Total 172,000

    Free policing – Free Defense – Free Roads – Free …

  • Anonymous

    sadly which party will you be talking to, we all know labour sees all the disabled or sick as work shy scroungers, Miliband keeps talking about hard working people, or work shy. The Tories might listen sadly labour are now needing benefit them selves they are blind deaf and bloody useless .

    Sorry but Labour is not worthy voting for or talking to if your disabled

  • Yunis Malik

    It is shocking that there are politicians in the UK who want to reduce unemployment benefits -even though they are already the lowest in the Western world. Shame on Britons for calling unemployed people ‘scroungers’ and ‘parasites’ when not enough money went to them in the first place.


  • Arecbalrin

    Yeah, noticed you had to throw in a few tropes that are not social security-related. What is social security related and is a large sum is the Housing Benefit which the family don’t actually receive at all. Housing Benefit rarely pays for full rent so to claim higher HB actually lowers disposable income.

    You can sway the public with distortions and ignorance, you can’t win a real argument with them.

  • Mr. Sensible

    The government seriously need to change course, or the Lords need to make them do it.

  • After Atos

    I have stepped up to the mark. AFTER ATOS online feedback survey. taking the ongoing rolling feedback from those going through the Atos Assessments since March 2012. Suffered our hacks and attacks and legal challenges from Atos and amazing blockages at having our facts of disabled sufferings and their own testimonies being published in the papers and media. A simple feedback survey led to an incredible year or much that has to be questioned and much which should shock and put this abomination to rest. I believe that every single person who has gone through the Atos assessments needs to have their voice and heard and their experience recorded. See http://www.afteratos.com/. See the results, see the recorded audios taken at an Atos Recruitment Fair where they admit they do not care what the person’s medical condition is or whether their assesssments and exercises and decisions lead to the worse possible consequences both for physical conditions in regard to an ulcer on the heart or a mental health condition which breaks down to the worse possible scenarion ( we see played out every day now through stress) of a person harming their family, workmates, or even a child. “We Don’t Care” “Not Our Problem.”

    Counting the Disabled Back In – Because People Matter

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  • Guest

    What else can we do? I’ve emailed MP’s, newspapers, news stations, supported the cause via twitter and Facebook. Got everyone I know, friends, family, work collegues, other carers, college friends past and present to sign the petition and posted on various internet forums and yet nothing. What else is there we can do to get this pushed? Over 3 million tweets on twitter and it’s still being ignored. Tell me what I can do and I’ll do it. Nothing any government has got me so pissed off before but this reform is just dangerous and wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    What can we do nothing much g4et a few people to perhaps hang themselves out side Parliament, but with Labour Tory and Liberal now backing the scrounger principles not a lot anyone can do

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  • Zhivagbah

    Vigil & lobby of Parliament:oppose Welfare Reform Bill-1pm Wed 11 January » DPAC
    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <​abbr title="…

    They will be gathering opposite the Lords' Entrance today. Spread the word to anyone you know who can get here.

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  • Ed’s Talking Balls

    Well, no, the family doesn’t get the money. But they do get to live in house. That’s kind of the way money works. You buy something with it.

    And what is it with the left’s bizarre, utterly misguided belief that every time others disagree with them (very frequently, that is) that the public has somehow been bamboozled? It was the same story when AV was comprehensively rejected at the ballot box – it couldn’t possibly be that people were satisfied with FPTP, nor that they were (at the very least) unconvinced by AV. No, it had to be a conspiracy of the right wing media to peddle lies to the idiotic masses…

    The man on the street knows instinctively that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. He’s obviously going to be irritated to see a gourmet meal (accommodation in Knightsbridge) served up to someone else when it’s been paid for by him.

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  • wildejamey

    All wonderful responses, but as one commentator said, they will never take any notice, however many millions tweet or sign petitions – rsting on the so-called democracy of a vote every five years. And in this case, of course, the Tories weren’t even given a majority. They are supported by LibDem “running dogs” who lied and misrepresented their way into power. The only way to counter these policies is by direct action.