Sunday, 26 February 2012

Responsible Reform report, Fundraising

I have been meaning for some time to outline the costs of producing the Responsible Reform report. I'm sorry it's taken so long, I literally just threw all the receipts in a box and dealt with the madness of 18 hour days as they happened. Then, as most of you know, I had to go into hospital soon after producing the report and have been extremely unwell and in and out of hospital ever since.

Printing Costs : 1856
Envelopes : £100
Couriers : £114
Phone Bills (landline) : £390 (On top of normal costs over 4 months)
Phone Bills (mobile) : £261 (On top of normal costs over 4 months)
Parking Ticket : £70 *See anecdote
Petrol £182

Bank / Credit Card charges : £292 - (Paypal error over Xmas left my personal account carrying the printing costs for 10 days, then transfer delayed following month too)
Cheapest laptop I could find (mine broke in late December, leaving me unable to finish report) : £339
New Landline phones (mine had died by December too! By Xmas I was using two home phones, a mobile and a computer all with dead batteries!) £39

Childcare 6 x £36 : £216 (When I had to drop everything to get to interviews etc)
Train Fares : £267
Taxi Fares : £162
Expenses while in London on various trips (PA to accompany, meals, drinks etc) £313
Expenses for volunteers (envelope stuffing weekend, snacks, drinks etc) £72
Printer ink, paper,stamps (covering letters) : £177
Fund/PayPal fees : £737

Food and personal expenses gifted to me personally at end of campaign to cover miscellaneous costs I had incurred producing the report, ie debt, take aways/food for children when too exhausted/away from home to cook etc : £827

Money still in fund : £956

Total Donations : £7370


Today, I have closed the fund. Many, many supporters and friends have wanted to donate funds to me personally, and I have repeatedly asked that they don't.
http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2012/02/why-i-write-this-blog.html
http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2011/12/fighting-fund.html
http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2012/01/consultation-way-forward.html

Despite being enormously touched and grateful, it is simply not right that you give your money to me - many people have campaigned on the welfare reform bill, many have given their time, I'm sure many have incurred personal costs they can ill afford.

Thank you for making the Responsible Reform report possible, for trusting me to complete it, to produce it and to pay for it on your behalf. It was however, a specific fund for a specific reason and thanks to your goodwill and a huge heap of luck, we achieved our goal. 


I will keep the £956 in the fundraising account for future potential fundraising, or donate it to a charity of your choice - please make suggestions in the comment thread. 


When I discussed whether or not to raise money with other campaigners, no-one was either prepared or able to set up an account. In the end, after much discussion with my family, I did so. I may have risked my own security and that of my family, but I did it because it had to be done and frankly, no-one else would do it. Any changes to the fund were made after consulting widely through my blog.

* Anecdote : To produce the Responsible Reform report in time for the ESA votes in the House of Lords (11th Jan) we had incredibly tight deadlines. Everything had a day on which it simply had to be completed or we would have missed those deadlines. Everything rested on the printers - closed over Xmas, they opened on 3rd Jan and our order HAD to be in by 10am on that date.

I took my 3 yr old to nursery that morning and as I started my car and pulled onto the main road it ran out of petrol! It was icy cold and raining.

Thankfully, two good Samaritans stopped and pushed my car onto the kerb. It was 9.05. I could call my breakdown service and wait - missing the print deadline - or I could attempt to walk home, put in the order, then arrange to rescue my car, hoping it would be OK. I did the latter.

I stumbled the mile or so to my flat, rain dripping off my nose, staggering and weaving with pain by the time I got there, vomiting twice on the way, walked in the door, picked the phone up and got the order in by 9.45. Then, I arranged for a neighbour to drive me to a petrol station and went to rescue the car. By this time, despite leaving a note in the window, I'd incurred a parking ticket. I am appealing the ticket, but have to assume they will make me pay it.



55 comments:

  1. Sue love whatever you did with the fund was well spent. no need to justify it love. Your campaigning together with harriet hAS GIVEN us a lot to cheer over.

    Thnak you

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  2. If it went to a charity it would have to be a grass roots one, or a specific project about empowerment. Too many problems with large impairment specific charities.

    Thank you for your openness and honesty throughout this process. it is much appreciated.

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  3. At this point I'd like to see the funds kept for future use, I'm sure they will be needed. Hope you are feeling better Sue.

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  4. Thanks again Sue.

    For what it's worth I think it should br kept it for future action. All too soon the WRB will be law and more people than ever will be clamouring for action, that will cost.

    Of course if you do decide to give it to charity can I please ask that you consider making it one of the groups that supports all sick & disabled people rather than one only set up to really help those with a specific disability?

    Warmest Regards xx

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  5. It would be good to have a float for next/ongoing campaign, maybe put the balance into new project fund?

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  6. so grateful for you guys doing the report. Over the festive period too! Giving a voice to people who didn't have one. All the good work will come back and haunt this government.

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  7. Dear Sue - all money so well spent! But at such a a huge toll on you & your family - I do hope you are able to take more time now for resting & recovery.

    If it's not too difficult for you, I also think it would be good to hold on to the remaining funds, to cover any additional costs that might still come in (e.g. for others involved?) and as a little cushion, should we need funding in future - who knows what will we might want to do when the #wrb comes into force.

    Much love x

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  8. Hold on to the money as when they start to force sick and disabled people to work on their MWA, and people become seriously ill and die through it a campaign will have to be mounted to fight for justice against theis cruel regime.. will people be allowed time off to go to see consultants or be sanctioned for it? How are people to get to their schemes if they are housebound through losing the motability car? more sanctions? I am a carer and these are my worries.. how to keep my husband alive in the next five years until he is 65.

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  9. The surplus should be retained as I'm certain there will be future need for campaigning. Perhaps think of keeping the fund open, so that if this govt try to spring something, the impetus for a new campaign is already there.

    Sue, you and your friends have done so much wonderful work - there are so many of us who are in debt to you. Thank you

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  10. Sue, You and Kaliya and all the other spartacus report authors went through so much for us all and still do.
    I am so grateful for the hard work of all of you and regret all the suffering it caused to get it done. I know I couldn't have done it. A job that should have been done by MPs on our behalf really. It is their job to analyse responses to their own consultation. But as we know we cannot trust them and Labour couldn't care enough or be bothered to do it. They get paid a fortune to "work for us" and we have to fight to give them the evidence. They should ALL be ashamed. they have forced so much unnecessary suffering on the sickest and most vulnerable. All of us try to do our bit, however small, to publicise this and respond and it puts a strain on all our health, mental and physical which is of course totally perverse. They want us all to get jobs but have for nearly 2 years done everything possible to make sure we are all sicker than ever with worry and effort that should be going in to recovery, or at least keeping us all as stable as possible.

    When injustice becomes law resistance becomes duty.

    I say hold on to the money. If possible set up a charity where more donations can be made. A few pounds from all of us, makes millions. We are going to need it. so much of what is in the WR Bill is arguably against several laws or conventions. A time will come when we need to challenge this in the Courts. We need a disability rights lawyer to go through this and that will cost big time. Unless of course, someone is prepared to volunteer!

    Charities tend to just take money and it disappears.Tehy haven't help us on the whole. We are our own charity now!

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  11. Great job & well done to you all. I like the idea of a charity getting the money. Now you can get on with what you want to do and earn some money

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  12. Sue, you are an absolute super-star for all of your work to help the sick/disabled.

    You are a shining light of compassion and gutsy determination that's an inspiration to all of us who read this blog.

    I think it would to wise to keep half the fund for up-coming expenses (no doubt there will be some).

    The other half of the fund could be put towards Kaliya's wheelchair fund, I think that would be a good use of the money.

    It's just a thought, anyone else think this is a good way to use whats left in the fighting fund ?

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  13. keep in for future fundraising sue and many thanks to all of you for your tireless efforts to make them sit up and notice:)

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  14. I don't often comment on blogs, fb etc but I read and do as much as I can. Knowledge is power as they say. Your efforts show the rest of us what can be done. Many comments have alluded to the truth on here, big charities cannot be trusted to have your interests at the heart of what they do. Unfortunately, once they become mainstream and accept funding they become constrained and need to pander to their funders in order to be the 'face' of whatever section of society they're supposed to represent. Self interest triumphs. Keep the fund, separate if need be. The fight is far from over and it will be needed - if only to set up and/or co-ordinate grass roots action. Once they have power, those that claim to represent us seek only to hold onto their power. Anything we need, we will have to fight for ourselves. I wish you well and hope you can now concentrate on looking after yourself. x

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  15. By the way, PENSIONERS fiddle the system 3 times more than those on DLA.

    Figures for DLA fraud 0.5%
    Incapacity Benefit 0.3%
    Pension Credit 1.6%

    New figures for the whole of 2010/11

    Now for the government media campaign against scrounging pensioners!

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/02/26/new-figures-show-low-level-of-benefit-fraud/

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  16. I'm with jan2, I think the money should be kept to go towards the expenses of continuing the fight, be it Legal costs, printing postage whatever is necessary. I would not be in favor of a Charity getting any of it as many of them have been no help at all during this fight and are even wingeing about not having enough 'workfare fodder'and loosing out to Poundland, Tesco etc!!.
    I am still shocked by what i found yesterday:

    The government have been consistently claiming that the Work Experience Scheme and the Work Programme are entirely voluntary, and that only Mandatory Work Activity is compulsory. They were lying, and now we have proof.From: http://www.latentexistence.me.uk/dwp-edits-documents-to-pretend-work-placements-werent-compulsory/?utm_source=Google+Reader

    sorry for spelling, had an op on my eye and bits of stitching are loose....:-(

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  17. Sue, You and Kaliya and all the other Spartacus did very well indeed it will be written into the history books

    …now thinking we will soon be needing …tents…soup kitchens…herbalists for our many ailments…need to club together to buy land for our own colony far away from these psychopaths …

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  18. I also think that the money should be kept for future action. As the results of this horrendous bill become apparent we will need more publicity, more interviews etc & I think the money will be needed for this.

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  19. I also think that the money should be kept for future action. As the results of this horrendous bill become apparent we will need more publicity, more interviews etc & I think the money will be needed for this.

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  20. Im wondering if we need a fund for possible legal action re wrb/esa/workfare etc.? in ECHR? I dont know if this is will be available or for how long under changes to legal aid in that bill. None of us will have a hope of being able to afford legal action alone, but we would defo have a chance together. I know theres an ongoing case that one of the mental health charities are doing, but am unsure if any precedent from this case would apply to those with sickness/disabilities in other areas?

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  21. Please keep money for similar future action.

    This political situation will be tackled on points of law, and that costs mucho.

    If I ever meet you, which I aim to do, I will be dropping quids in your handbag while you're not looking so you can spend the money on your own Pleasure.

    DO NOT TRUST ANY CHARITY ORGANISATIONS. Love, A A

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  22. At the end of the day the core team involved in producing the Spartacus Report should make the final decision. In an ideal world I would suggest creating a charity, eg the Broken of Britain, as that offers certain funding advantages. However, having in the past been involved in the running of a small registered charity, the extra work needed to set up and manage a charity counts heavily against that option. Assuming there are no financial implications eg personal taxation, the remaining balance could well be retained as a 'fighting fund' to cover any future expenses as a direct result of 'welfare campaigning'.

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  23. I think at some point in the future there is likely to be the need for Spartacus Report Part II - hopefully others will take on the burden of a new project, but I think the money should be retained - I've a feeling someone is going to need help to get to Westminster or the BBC studios sometime...

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  24. If we can't get lawyers to challenge in the courts....

    I also like the idea of anonymous @ 5.56 of saving up for some land, tents, etc to create a colony away from the psychopaths in power!

    It is something I have been thinking myself is going to be needed. When people are kicked out for having a spare room or found fit to work when half dead and waits for an appeal will be indefinite with no income - what will people do?

    Occupy in London's St Paul's are running a succesful community which has out of demand turned into something else. It is also doing a lot to help the homeless and mentally ill who started to come to them for help and free food. They have a full time free kitchen. They even have volunteer doctors and psychiatric nurses .. and a chill-out "room" for those in distress. Who knows how many will be heading that way, when all this kicks in?

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  25. Thank you Sue, if only the powers that be were so detailed and clear abut their budgeting ;-)
    I'd say keep it for the future, we're bound to need you to whiz off to be interviewed or some other eventuality.
    Hope your health improves soon x

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  26. Anyone willing or able to set up a charity to receive donations?

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  27. Sue, you must not forget that there is an element of self-protection to be considered in respect of managing donated monies. It would not be helpful to the cause for populist press to be able to make accusations against you in this respect. A good deal of influence can be lost through one unwarranted accusation, widely publicised. I have e-mailed you previously about establishing charitable status or co-operative status. Please reply if you wish for guidance, advice, assistance in this respect.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, I don't recognise your blog name from an email? Sometimes, they are quite different and it takes me months to realise people are the same people!!

      I cannot possibly be a charity. I am a political campaigner. Quite apart from that, it takes a LOT of work, is open to all the problems existing charities face and I physically just could not run a charity. I don't want to.

      The fund was for a very specific cause I don't intend to put myself through anything like Spartacus again for a very long time - if ever.

      Delete
    2. Do be careful that you don't get taxed on the fund as "income". It wouldn't surprise me at all if HMRC decided to call it that. Maybe there's somebody amongst your readers who knows about these things and could advise...

      Delete
    3. I've just sent you a further e-mail Sue which will identify me. There are ways and means to structure a charity or co-operative of mutual benefit. I'm up for a conversation with others who may be willing, that's all...

      Delete
    4. I haven't got any emails??? Perhaps that's the problem, perhaps it was the wrong address? Which one are you using?

      Delete
    5. Mystery solved! I just found it in my junk folder!!

      I can't access that email any more either, so had to use my phone etc etc.

      Anyway, I will get back to you about it, but i'm taking a bit of a break for a while,so sorry if there's a delay.

      Delete
  28. Are you going to pay the fund back for the laptop and telephones?

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  29. Do remember that a charity cannot have as its main aim political campaigning (party political or otherwise). For an organisation to be accepted as charitable, political activity must only be secondary to its main aims and main activities. I hope this link will work. http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/start_up_a_charity/set_up/best_way_forward.aspx#7

    Therefore if this money is to be used for further political campaigning, charitable status is not the way to go.

    Do make sure that all involved continue to claim proper expenses. It is easy to reach a point at which you think you've claimed an awful lot and then not claim everything to which you're entitled and long term this may inhibit your (or someone else's) ability to keep campaigning.

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  30. Anonymous - Do you think I should? At the time, I mentioned that both were not working properly and many comments urged me to replace them from the fund.

    All three had battery meltdowns I think we can definitely attribute to overwork, the laptop charger cable just stopped working altogether in the end too. We had already repaired it twice - it was deed.

    See I never have any money and all my stuff is either second hand or old and broken, lol. I didn't imagine I'd end up co-ordinating a report that would have cost 100k through a think tank. People felt it was vital I had a reliable computer as the entire report final draft was usually only with me.

    If you think I should pay that money back though, do say and perhaps others will say what they think too?

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely not Sue. If you didn't have a laptop which worked and a phone which worked, the report and the campaign which followed - including all the tv , radio etc , would not have happened.

      Delete
    2. Dont u bloody dare Sue. Those were legitimate expenses incurred for the campaign due to excessive use of your existing(personally purchased) ones. You were fully within your rights to use that money to replace them in order to keep the fight going. xxx

      Delete
    3. How ridiculous to suggest Sue ought to pay for the laptop and phones. This is clearly a troll comment. No need to justify them, they were legitimate expenses and without them there would have been no report to submit.

      Urgh fancy breaking down in the rain whilst feeling unwell on that vital day. Thank you to all the people involved in writing the report. You've all endured and suffered and made yourselves sick in order to try to help others.

      Please keep the money for the fighting fund. It's a generous gesture to give it to charity but we need hope. Please hold on to it just in case. To give it away feels like giving up.

      Delete
    4. Well I see- kinda- the argument for paying it back, but in which case I do feel that the residue of the fund ought to be paid to Sue as payment- somewhat- for what she has done. It isn't nearly enough to pay her, of course, but as that is where the fund stands, its all that would be able to be paid.

      Or we could just not be nitpicky and say keep the cheapy laptop. I think it falls under reasonable expenses somehow.

      Either way, laptop or what is left of the fund,it scarcely compensates for what Sue has put in in terms of time, deteriorating health, absence from the family and so on. I know Sue doesn't want payment. But lets not be churlish about a laptop. Me, I'd like her to have the full 100K such a report ought to have cost, but failing that, a laptop will have to suffice!

      Delete
    5. No way Sue. You do not need to pay back cost for the production of a report , i.e. the laptop and phone.
      I'm afraid blogs like yours will always attracts the antis. Angela

      Delete
  31. Sadly 'welfare reform' will become self evident to all on the streets of the U.K. and that is where the battle against ultraliberal helotdom and totalitarianism will commence.

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  32. Ty Sue for all your incredible hard work. I would like to see the money kept as a float for any further campaigning. However, that doesn't mean you should feel obliged to do said campaigning, but rather to maybe hand over the reins and the budget should it be required in the future and you are unable to physically deal with the stresses. We love you for everything you have done, and as s stubborn headed sod myself, I know you will keep pushing and fighting till you drop. BUT we really would prefer to keep u alive and kicking and fighting along side us :) HUGS xxx

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  33. I cannot believe the comment regarding paying back the laptop and telephones!! The financial cost of a campaign of this magnitude would astonish most people. You had used your own laptop and phones for the campaign which obviously wore them out. You gave your time and health freely to this campaign in the interests of justice for all of us.

    Please do not listen to such narrow minded remarks. If you were a campaign consultant imagine what your pay check would be like today. It is legitimate expenses you have paid out and I would guess you have spent a lot of personal money you can ill aford on top.

    With the media frenzy investigating everything the government do and say at the moment I believe the funds should be kept so they can be used if need be. With all the evil reforms due to start affecting people I do not think the government have heard the last of us.

    Personally I would like to say a huge thank you for being a voice of hope and reason amongst the lies and rhetoric this non elected government keep spouting. You have shown you are a lady of courage and dignity and have given the voiceless a voice with complete disregard for your personal health.

    Slowly, day by day the coalitions lies and deceit are coming out and to be honest it couldnt happen to a better bunch of people than them.

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    Replies
    1. Yes I agree, that laptop/phone comment earlier was very unfair. You were precipitated into a frenetic situation, Sue, and went through horrors on our behalves to reach the deadline. A thousand thanks. Amazing, isn't it, that we're even having this conversation - when you think of the way MP's seem to claim for the air they breathe! Of course you musn't return the money - the campaign would have stopped dead without a laptop and phones.
      As for the remaining funds, I think hang on to them for the future.

      Delete
  34. I agree with the general consensus, that the remaining funds should be retained 'just in case.' And don't even think of paying back the fund for the laptop and phones, absolutely not.
    ..and good luck with the parking ticket! xx

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  35. Can you give us the story on the bank fees and PayPal charges? Are they refunding you for their error? And why are PayPal charging 10% - bit of a shocker!
    I'm not questioning you - I know bank charges are terrifying and usually unexpected, and that they soon add up. I'm just interested to know more, especially about the Paypal side of it. thank you.

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    Replies
    1. It was really bad. I transferred the money from Paypal to my bank account to pay for the printing. As I said before, the transfer just didn't happen - for 10 days!!! (they estimate 2-3, I allowed 5)

      It took me way over our overdraft and I'm not supposed to have one :( The bank were really unhelpful. We showed them proof of the transfer but they just basically refused to give us any grace and said we'd just have to deal with the fees. They've never done that before, I was amazed. In fact the fees came to £400 in total. (I charged £250 of it to the fund as some of it came a day or two later from a late tax rebate cheque too :((()

      I put as many of the expenses as I could on my credit card as I went along, then, again, transferred the funds when they were available. Over the campaign, the charges were £42

      As for the PayPal/GoFundMe fees, I went to say "yes that's right" to the previous comment, but I don't think it's quite that simple, and I want to be exact, so as soon as Go Fund Me tell me exactly how it works in practise, I'll tell you :) Watch this space, lol

      Delete
  36. re laptop & phone, if this is still an issue. At the outset, you had a laptop and a phone (ie you donated your own equipment to the cause) Working on the report killed the laptop and the phone. The fund replaced the laptop and the phone (by general consensus at the time, as you point out)

    At the end you had a laptop and a phone. You haven't somehow come out with MORE than you started!

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  37. I think Go Fund Me charge - ie. take a percentage of funds raised and Paypal always charge fees for transactions. For the sake of transparency it would be best to explain what happened Sue, so no-one can have a go!

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  38. I agree to keep the fund, we still will need to shout out about what will be happening to people under the welfore reform bill, the bedroom tax, the changing to PIP, more and more people failing atos exams etc. I think we still will need to use it to have a voice for as long as you are able to do this.

    I think you have used the money for what you said, and what we said to use it for, you have asked us along the way. We all know being ill cost more to do simply tasks that you have to pay other people to do. We all understand the extra costs needed/ We are just very greatful we give it our best shot and at least the powers that be know we are not going to take the onslaught silently.

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  39. Hello sue.I personally think you should keep the money but i know you wont.As for anon at 07.47 saying are you going to pay back the fund for the laptop...well the answer is no no and bloody well NO.....it was a legitimate expense and whoever you are anon go look in a mirror and if you dont see a troll looking back then put yer glasses on....
    Without you and the team there would have been no report and thats a fact and i would hazard a geuss here that that report was the best researched and presented of any sych report the houses had and probably one of the most influencial.
    WE know this fight is far from over and it has to continue.WE KNOW they have more planned.
    AS for the charity well if thats what people want then fine BUT and this is a bloody big but.DONT give any of it to any charity that supports or uses people on one of these bloody work fare or welfare to work slave labour schemes as we know its all a bloody scam and we would be feeding the hand that bites.Really i would much rather you hang on to it or use it yourself,split it between the team even if you want,but i really do think we should keep it open.
    Oh and use it to pay the parking ticket too thats if anon troll doesnt mind cos i bet him/her/it a penny to a million quid no one else will ...the fight goes on and circumstances will dictate the next move...

    ReplyDelete
  40. Two must-reads from Guardian (sorry, not strictly about Sue's last blog, but it's all connected to the general horribleness of what the government's dishing out)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/26/welfare-to-work-nick-harvey

    and below, the spectre of the future of education???

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/26/schools-crusade-gove-murdoch

    ReplyDelete
  41. Sue, ignore the anonymous troll about the laptop,phone bill.
    He/she has been floating around some time now putting in derogatory posts. Frankly I'm susrprised there are so few, as a blog like this usually would attract hundreds.

    Its our money - we gave it to you for work on our behalf.Its a legitimate an essential expense.

    there must be a way around this Perhaps an existing charity of repute could host a donation site on our behalf, perhaps Ekklesia?

    they have a "become a partner" page. why couldn't they add a partner page for spartacus since they supported it. Just an idea. Im no genius about such things. people want to donate, so I don't see why they should be prevented. There are plenty of political think tanks posing as charities, so the NO political cmapigning thing must be able to be got around. Occupy get money from somewhere and that is definitely political campaigning. Put out a tweet and see if someone knows someone who knows how to do it?

    Hope you are recovering a bit.

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/about/join

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, if you can bring yourself to charge all the £400 bank charges to the fund, please do. Personally I'd be happiest if you kept the remainder for yourself as a ridiculously tiny compensation for your time.

      My feeling is that if a new campaign is needed in the future we can't expect you to half kill yourself like this again, so you shouldn't have to worry about keeping a fund in place to manage.

      What would be left - about £700 - shouldn't be enough to screw up your tax or benefits entitlements (ha!) and I'd very much like to feel that you got some kind of thank-you from us. But you're the boss and you get to decide - we gave you that authority when we gave you the money.

      Thanks again for keeping us all inspired.

      Delete
  42. Re: £400 bank charges. I remember the issue of unreasonable bank charges being in the news a while back, and they're only allowed to pass on charges for costs reasonably incurred in providing the service. Here's one article I came across when I Googled. Sometimes banks will cancel charges if they are politely asked to use their discretion, although it seems they've refused to do so in this instance, so start quoting chapter and verse of the relevant laws at them. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/feb/26/bank-charges-case

    ReplyDelete