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.
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.
• Disability minister ignorant on how legal aid cuts affecting disabled people – Alex Hern, January 10th 2012
• Time to step forward on the Spartacus report – Alex Hern, January 9th 2012
• Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left – Daniel Elton, January 6th 2012
• Five reasons to oppose the welfare bill – Daniel Elton, December 12th 2011
• Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship – Sue Marsh, January 24th 2011