Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Excellent News!

The Welfare Reform Bill may now be an Act, but the battle only just began.

Following on from the excellent news that Scottish GPs have called for an immediate end to Atos Work Capability Assessments - arguing that they are unsafe for patients - do open this link!!

I'm not going to spoil the surprise! Just click on the link here : http://www.parliament.uk/documents/joint-committees/human-rights/Maria_Miller_MP_on_IL.pdf

Happy Easter!!

I am Spartacus and I will see justice xx


36 comments:

  1. That's very good news; but I wonder how much notice this government will take of it, given its propensity to ride roughshod over every objection to its poilicies.

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  2. good job sue & all involved in the spartacus report.

    i only wish i'd got my iPad, & therefore twitter etc, sooner so i could have contributed myself.

    will be interesting to see if there's any reaction to how many negative responses were ignored by the gov consultation because they were submit on pre-prepared forms. if memory serves it was 40-50%. personally i think this was disgusting. let's face it, we vote in elections on pre-prepared, standard forms & nobody ignores these.

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  3. Good to hear. We are the Angry Birds Against Atos trying to add our squawks: http://angrybirdsagainstatos.tumblr.com/

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  4. I know its stupid but i just wish they would bin this whole evil attack on disabled people - Leave us alone and stop attacking us over ESA when UC is coming in soon so why attack us twice? Also bin the PIP thing and leave DLA alone as if it aint broke - dont fix it (or break it more as the case may be! Cameron is evil!

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  5. Political Scrapbook is suggesting that the DWP have broken the law. But are there any penalties for that? If not, what is the point? Unless, of course, that illegality factors into any future legal challenges to PIP implementation(?)

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  6. Well done Sue, on behalf of my disabled son and myself his disabled carer we send you a huge - Thank You.

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  7. Thank you Sue for bringing/keeping us together... x

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  8. It's encouraging, but can these Human Rights people actually do anything?

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  9. I loved reading this news Sue. Many thanks. It put a smile on my face.

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  10. Someone needs to take them to court - Someone on OUR side... Hello somehows I am sending this to you in hope you can use it. This man is the man who won the phone hacking scandal for those families - He has Multiple Sclerosis so he would understand (i hope) the feelings of disabled people. mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk is his email address I hope that helps in some way. I pray

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  11. This so call clearing Government don't care about you and me, all they care about is money, money is power, money corrupts,They use there rules to protect themselves, It make no difference if the NHS dies, they still make there money.
    The only language this government understand is money, Hurt them there and we can win... but you need money to do this, its a catch 22

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  12. Thank you Sue and congrats to all spartacus, we won't lay down and die we will continue to fight. I pray we can find a lawyer who would like the publicity in helping us! Happy Easter to all! : )

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  13. It's bad enough that at some point I know I will lose Mum(probably sooner than later)but as I received my regular statement from my Housing Association showing how upto date I am paying the rent on my home(which I have been in for approx 53 years)and have had my name on the rent card for almost 30 years...

    In the same envelope in big bold type was a worrying letter which basically stiches me up and means that even though neighbours and my Social Worker and other council officials told me I'd be safe and could stay put.

    I doubt it. Many of us around the country willbe affected so I am not alone but that doesn't make it any easier...

    I quote...

    Are you receiving any benefits?

    Yes? Then read on...Welfare Reform May affect your household.(I'd say it will affect everyone)

    The Government is planning major reforms to the welfare benefit system, including changes to housing benefit, job seekers allowance, income support, employment and support allowance, working tax credit and child tax credit over the next few years.

    These changes may affect you. We outline below the changes that may affect you:(stop saying may they will!)

    Who will it affect?

    All housing benefit claimants will be affected where either the claimant or their partner are under state pension credit age. By 2013 the pension credit age will be 61 for both mena and women, and will rise to 66 by 2020.

    Are you of working age?

    Working age tenanats will be charged aroiund £13 for each bedroom that is not used or needed. You wish to consider moving into a smaller property, please ring us to discuss your housing options.

    There will be a new of paying you all your benefits.

    From October 2013, housing benefit will be paid directly to you not your landlord. It will also be called Universal Credit and will combine other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance, and Working Tax Credit(If you are entitled to them)This means that you will be required to pay the full amount of your rent to your landlord.

    Do you have a bank account?

    You will need a bank account for your Universal Credit payment. This will help with budgeting and direct debits to pay your rent.

    Are you on Disability Living Allowance?

    Disability Living Allowance will beeplaced with Personal Independence Payment - this will result in tighter rules and many claimants will see a drop in income.

    Do you pay Council Tax?

    Council Tax Benefit is to be reduced by 10%, again reducing the money in your pocket.

    Do you have adults aged 18+ years living with you?

    If you live with other adults who are over 18, deductions will be made from your housing benefit. The amount of this deduction will depend on the person's earnings.

    Then they give two phone numbers to call(the housing association)and the welfare department of the council.

    I guess my income will drop drastically whatever happens and my days in this house and location are numbered.

    Heaven knows where I'll be relocated. Again, not much to look forward to. Even if I am in a bedsit/one bedroom flat my income will be so low.

    Mum says I'll be ok and taken care of, she just said that out of the blue the other day but its a good job she doesn't realise how difficult life is going to be for me in the future. No, that's unfair Mum's life is difficult being seriously ill and facing death. Last night as I had to leave her in the Nursing Home she begged me to stay(I can't)and said she was frightened...how that tugged at my heartstrings.

    I hope that I am strong but I am scared.

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    1. The software system being developed in India to store all this data under Universal Credit looks set to peer into every last detail of your life. Another scary thing to worry about?

      http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/big-brother-is-back-id-cards-were-nothing-compared-to-this-governments-snooping-plans/

      Anyway, on a much more positive note....

      WELL DONE Sue and all the amazing people in the team that researched the Spartacus Report. To know that someone has listened, agreed and challenged the government on their lack of engagement with disabled people is quite remarkable. This is progress and it makes me happy.

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    2. Its also gonna be storing our data outside of the UK, which they need our permission to do from my reading of the Data Protection Act, as its not necessary for their processes for it to be stored in this way.So on the grounds of data security im refusing permission for my data to be taken out of the UK.

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    3. I think you're right about the data protection act, anonymous, the reason for this is that other countries have different and often less stringent laws protecting your data and once the information is outside the UK it is questionable as to whether the government can retain control of it. The data controller has to be satisfied that they can adequately protect your data if they allow it to be stored externally. A pertinent question might be: if the data does get misused can we sue the data controller?

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  14. Well done............Too many lives put ar risk.
    Thank you

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  15. heres another link worth a look sue. French Atos workers speak out .....http://department-for-making-hope-possible.posterous.com/french-atos-staff-speak-out
    Bit of a long link but interesting reading

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  16. Workfare provider companies have now been given anonyimity due to bad publicity from anti workfare campaigners...Only in scotland so far but coming soon to england no doubt.
    This via social welfare advocacy on facebook....

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  17. Thank you for sharing this letter with us. It states what we already knew, and not much else really.

    I would have liked to have read what action the Human Rights Committee will be taking, after they've read the Government's response to the Report, along with a time-scale of the various stages.

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  18. David Cameron wont be listening to this that's for sure and at this time the government wont be doing anything different to what is all ready planed

    The report is as i was expecting from Dr Francis which is detailed and accurate but David Cameron wont and cant change these reforms as to many deaths have already taken place and therefore will not be able change tactic as to do so focus on these deaths would then come about

    At this time the DWP deaths Welfare Reform Death Scandal is unknown to many across the country and that's the way it has to stay as if it got out to the press they could have a field day and bring the government down

    David Cameron will am sure be doing every thing he can to keep the press sweet but you only need one person like myself in the press to bring the whole house down and we might not be at that stage yet ?

    The death toll so far stands at 20 with a further 31 under investigation which is way to high for my liking but the press are thinking this figure is to low so everything is ok

    The only logical outcome from the welfare reform bill is it's effects on people and on some to take their own life that is all nothing more

    The loss of money or part of a persons benefit may not be the deciding factor for someone to take their own life

    It would be more proberly the loops that people have to go through to now receive their benefit which causes a highlight in a persons mental anguish and on the spur of the moment they kill themselves all of us and i mean all of us at any point could go the same way just us in any on going frustrating circumstance we may smash a cup or worse and who hasn't done that in their lifetime or worse

    most people in life will and can avoid stress by keeping away from it but this welfare reform bill is different as it's here to stay and we cant just shut it out as it effects all of us here and the damage it will do will be vast at some point that i do know and the death toll will start stacking up especially to those who are caught in the loop and for the rest of their lives will have to go round and round in circles

    I myself have been in this loop for 31 years well before the welfare bill so i know more then anyone of how this plays out

    The death toll has been high for many years but it's only in the last couple of years some focus has been shown upon it

    The focus in going forward is for the deaths so far to be much more highlighted as this is the only way forward the benefits being cut in pound terms to those that receive them is of little if any consequence as everyone has to tighten their belt the sick and disabled included


    So therefore yes a good report but don't expect any change from the government as you wont get any
    that's my verdict and i will stick with it

    If however some legal issues arise because of these deaths then the government may change course or face imprisonment but even then i still think the government will stick it out as they are already in deep trouble and in reality haven't got much to lose which is the same as any leader that sets out to destroy sections of society they normally go on and on for as long as possible just as we have being seeing on the tv the past year in Libya and Syria etc it's a fight to the bitter end and much death in-between for some who no longer wish to fight any more

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    1. http://socialwarriors.co.uk/2012/03/british-people-are-committing-suicide-to-escape-poverty-is-this-what-the-state-wants/

      150 suicides already... Why we do not have a public enquiry? Can they refuse us that right? Why as we created the Spartacus Report and Pat's petition and Stop the Welfare Cuts and the NHS etc, why we don't put our pens together and sign a new petition for enquiry? Can you help us Sue? You have a big following and people will listen..

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    2. Yes fourbanks,the suicide figures put out by http://calumslist.org/ stands at 20. But those are cases he posts only if he has checked with coroner's etc that the connection with an Atos medical is definitely proven and he is absolutely sure.

      The supportive article in the Daily Mail( yes, unbelievable, I know) by Sonia Poulton put the figure at 103, known associated deaths. Don't know where she got her figures from.

      One of the comments to the artcile added his/her own friend to the list who had committed suicide that very same day.

      Of course the letter from the Disability Rights Commission is good news but what are they doing about Atos NOW.

      We need to contact them with this evidence. And every news outlet in the country until they listen.

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    3. I looked up the link posted by sarcboy at 8.51.. It seems even the French who work for Atos are horrified by what is happening here and are ashamed to be associated with the company.

      My French is rusty but one of the comments warned that unfortunately the British now have a "fascist goverment". It says the involvement of Atos is disgusting and immoral and asks readers to boycott the Paralympic games due to their sponsership. So if even the French can see it and are ashamed, why not the British?
      The work on the Spartacus report has obviously reached the higher echelons of government and had some effect. But we must get the committee to act NOW to stop these tests that are destroying the lives of all of us.

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  19. Well done to everyone involved with the Spartacus Report. I bet you never believed it would be quoted by someone like this. Incredible. Truly incredible. I'm so glad we now have the backing of an organisation like this.

    It's going to be like a snowball effect, I can feel it.

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  20. Well done Sparticus people.

    Agree with the mental health part, I was failed on areas where I should of recieved points on. Have an official diagnosis of Autism/Aspergers, and because I was good with numbers that went against me I guess.. They asked me math questions at the assessment, yet they say those with Autism are good at math in most cases.

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  21. I'm not really able to judge whether the break up of the UK is good or bad, its too big an issue but I doubt what happens in Scotland will affect what happens in Scotland will affect what happens in England, N. Ireland or Wales.

    Even before the Scottish Parliament became a reality some laws across the border were different to the rest of the UK.

    Sadly...And should Scotland decide to go independent one can only imagine freedom it would give the English Government in the House of Commons to do as it wishes to the English population.

    You'd like to think they might be fairer and compassionate but I suspect they will become even more harder especially if the same lot are in charge. The alternative isn't much better and by the time anything can be done the new welfare changes will have been instigated. And any chance to repeal them will take years.

    I see that Radio 4 has another programme tonight about the Work Programme.

    20:00–20:30 The Report
    The Work Programme Revisited
    Is the government's welfare-to-work programme simply unworkable?

    For many it is/will be but if you are caught up in it you are jumping through the hoops and having the worry it entails and the problems of getting finanacial help.

    Yesterday, on Money Box Live people were phoning in with their concerns about beenfit etc...one man was blind aged 62(I think)and had been placed on ESA(not the one that supports you if you are unable to work)but the one that tries to get you work and he was coming to the end of the year and they told him there was no benefits available to him and he probably have to use his savings and be means tested...even though he's almost at retiremant age(who realistically will take him on?)

    The good news? If he gets to retirement age he might be entitled to his State Pension and some other benefits that could see him better off at that point but for the next 3-4 years it will be a struggle.

    I hate this country!

    No, I love my country but dislike those running it! I still believe there are decent people around me and I know most feel as we do but unfortunately many don't know what's going on because of the lack of fair reporting in the media. And many things get passed into law because its done quietly.

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  22. If we as a country can just focus on the deaths so far from the welfare reform bill the chances are David Camerons days would be numbered pure and simple

    At this time he's talking about pasty's while in the real world is leaving the weak to fend for themselves or jump through hoops to get their benefit and the public just like in Germany in the war are turning a blind eye for the simple reason they cant cope with the horrific reality

    hearing the truth can be very damaging to some people and the natural reaction for all normal people is to turn a blind eye

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    1. We'd need the newspapers on our side. Otherwise the general public just believes the lies Grayling comes out with.

      If we had newspapers on our side we could point out the lies being spread by the Goverment and contradict their comments with solid evidence.

      You could make any goverment buckle with the public on your side.

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  23. Being blind its very hard to do so many things in life .has my dad is blind .people don't know how hard it is to do simple tasks like making a cup of tea or finding things this gov is not fair to the blind i wish david cameron was like my dad he would see what its like to be blind. if people just closed both eyes for ten mins and have a go at doing some tasks

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  24. Most of Europe is screwed, Greece and now Spain(which is a Conservative government)and they are bringing in similar policies to our own. That includes making it easier to sack employees and recruit new staff which they say will create new jobs.

    I appreciate how hard it is to be blind and I do appreciate how many still have the determination to continue.

    Fancy worry about pasties when people are worried about whether they'll have a roof over their heads or have some kind of income.

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  25. There is currently an £85 (or thereabouts) earnings disregard for contributory ESA, which means that those of us who have at least tried to work and have had to retire early on health grounds, could build up contributions to this contributory benefit, and keep at least part of any disability pension. The government has now decided that disability is no reason to allow this and with the introduction of universal credit next year, will be 'aligning' ESA with the rest of the benefits - this means that ALL of your pension will count, as will any partner's income (which was also previously disregarded).

    Now I realise that the people in receipt of even a small pension are lucky to have it as a small cushion, but consider my situation - and there will be thousands in similar situations. I have spina bifida. I struggled to work for 22 years,and had to take early retirement when my disability made it impossible for me to continue. I was a civil servant and the department doctor who signed off on my retirement said he didn't know how I had even coped up to that point. My pension is around £300 per month and I am currently in the ESA support group for the longest time they can award because my condition will not change. My husband is a low wage earner and is still in full time employment at the age of 62 having been continuously in work all his life - very lucky I know. Between us we have worked and paid national insurance contributions, I am still a tax payer, as ESA is taxable if you also have a pension. Contributory ESA topping up my pension allows us to just about break even and now the government is going to take even this away. Now put this totally in perspective. They are wiping out entitlement to benefits for which people have contributed through work, they are cutting disability benefits to the bone and marginalising disabled people and pensioners to the edges of society by way of poverty - and at the same time they are awarding tax cuts to the rich and allowing what is effectively a £50,000 earnings disregard for child benefit to higher rate tax payers. We are all in it together are we Dave ? I think not. Having children is a lifestyle choice, being disabled is not, and this is just not fair - it's actually morally bankrupt.

    The sneaked in change to contributory ESA will also affect people in the support group - the very most vulnerable people who are deemed to ill or disabled to work, so the row about time limiting contributory ESA to 12 months for those in the work related activity group will be repeated for the support group once news of the change gets out (hopefully). I know I will not be alone in this, and I know it will cause massive hardship. It's being sneaked in under the radar and I suspect it will also affect a lot of middle income tory voters, so I think the government may be in for a surprise at the polls.

    What worries me is the cumulative effects of all these cuts. The majority of the welfare cuts have been aimed at disability benefits and universal credit will wipe out the rest. It's all at the talking stage at the moment, but the **** will hit the fan in april next year when it becomes a reality and people realise the full extent of what they are facing. We should all be looking for ways to highlight the reality of the situation being face by UK disabled people, but with the media as biased as it is towards the 'scrounger' label I don't see what we can realistically achieve. Depressing innit ? Pasty anyone ?

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  26. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I take 5 different tablets daily to manage my symptoms and a daily injection of a Disease Modifying Drug. Despite this I still experiences tremors, pain, spasms and severe fatigue. The drugs I take manage these symptoms, they don’t alleviate them. The injection sites for the DMD are developing increasing signs of lypo-atrophy. Of the 8 original sites, only 5 remain usable. When the sites are all too atrophied to receive the DMD I’ll have to stop taking it. Prior to taking the DMD I had at least 2 full relapses, and several minor ‘hiccups’, per year. This has improved to 1.
    Relapses leave me immobilised and bedridden, I experience blinding headaches, extreme pain, loss of bladder control and I get terrified that things will not improve. Each relapse lasts about 6 weeks on average. The ‘hiccups’ can vary in intensity but I usually deal with them by increasing my rest and decreasing my output depending on what goes wrong.

    I currently qualify for higher rate mobility under DLA but won’t under PIP. Under the new rules for PIP, if a disabled person CANNOT walk more than 50 metres but doesn’t need a wheelchair then they will no longer be entitled to higher rate mobility, which in short means access to a car through the motability scheme. I struggle to walk 50 meters but I can do it. It hurts, but I can do it. I would have to sit down afterwards but I can do it.

    I use this DLA money I receive to pay for my car. My car is my gateway to work. It enables me to provide (I hope) a valued service. I work as a community midwife, restricting my paid hours to 30 per week as recommended by my hospital trusts occupational health dept. If I feel well enough, I works extra hours and do not charge the trust for this. I use the car to rest and recover between visits. My kit is quite heavy so carrying it to and from my clients’ houses really takes it out of me. When I get home I eat and then go to bed, usually before 8pm, so I can get up and go to work the following day. When I am reassessed and my DLA is stopped I will lose my transport and my career. I am aware that my 'work shelf-life' will be shorter than normal so we have based our family life around my career. I worked very hard to get where I am. It’s a career I love and I don’t want this to change.

    When I am working I am 'The Midwife', not the disabled MS sufferer.My clients have no knowledge of my condition and nor should they. They just want a midwife who does the job well and puts their interests first. I try to do that every day. Having MS doesn’t stop me doing my job, It just makes it harder, but what the government is doing will stop me doing my job.

    I was working in customer service at Tesco once, a long time ago, and I decided I wanted more. I took a part time 2 year access course at college, then went to University and completed a 3 year degree, all to get my dream career. Six months after qualifying, I was diagnosed. As my MS progresses and I come to rely more on the welfare state, I can see the day coming when I’m placed into the Work Related Activity Group and sent back to work at Tesco as part of my rehabilitation. I sincerely hope that the government listen but to be honest, I don't think they will.

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  27. This is a really big achievement Sue and everybody, well done. I know it doesn't look like much at the moment, but this kind of criticism will lead to international embarrassment for the UK government, and very often embarrassment makes a big difference to what governments do.

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  28. It is worrying that these issues are pitting people against each other, the fact you are disabled or not that you choose to have children or not. Could we just rise above that to fight the cuts which will make people poorer to the point of despair.
    I think the first thing to do is to stop these assessments, and after we can start disagreeing. But until then, let's not be divided by the artificial division that politicians imposed on us, the disabled and the abled, the ones who have children and the ones who do not, the ones who work and the ones who do not. We are all under attack, because we are asking that our side of the contract should be fulfilled.

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