residents associations in the uk

working together to create communities with a heart

by Amanda Bickerton, Salford


With the Welfare Reform Bill oozing its way through parliamentary process, a group of sick and disabled people came together to produce the Spartacus Report. The report was produced after every possible effort to engage with politicians was rebuffed. As Sue Marsh, one of the authors of the report, says in her blog Diary of a Benefit Scrounger:

“We did everything possible to engage with politicians, lobbying MPs and Peers, writing articles, attending conferences, but at every turn we were brushed aside. Despite serious concerns from campaigners, charities and disabled people themselves, the Government's the recent Impact Assessment (October 2011) into the proposed reform of Disability Living Allowance is almost identical to the original. Nothing has changed, almost none of our concerns have been addressed and as the House of Lords return to vote on the final stages of the welfare reform bill, we felt that it was vital we presented our own evidence. This is the Spartacus Report. We all own it, we all created it. It is yours, use it in any way you wish. Please join in the campaign online today if you aren't already signed up”

The report demonstrates that:

  • the government failed to abide by its own Code of Practice on consultation: the consultation period was two weeks short of the recommended minimum period of twelve weeks; it took place over the Christmas period; and the Bill was presented to Parliament two days before the consultation period ended, meaning that none of the findings could be taken into account and incorporated into the report. So much for democracy...

  • the government has misrepresented the findings of the consultation. So much for public engagement...

  • the government claims that DLA claims have risen by 30% in eight years. The government have admitted that this figure is misleading and ‘distorted’ but are still using it to inform policy. So much for transparency...

  • the government seems to already be going ahead with some elements of the proposed new benefit despite overwhelmeing public opposition and the small fact that the legislation has not been passed. So much for parliamentary process...

  • the report demonstrates widespread opposition to and fear about the new legislation. So much for the Big Society and ‘we are all in this together’.....

  • the government is ignoring warnings that this legislation may break international Human Rights legislation and UK Equality legislation. So much for the rule of law.....

This is a call to action – please join the campaign in one of the following ways:

On Twitter: use the hashtag #spartacusreport and give your support

On Facebook: change your status to ‘I support the Spartacus Report’

By email: email your MP a link to the report and the following letter:


The report demonstrates that:

  • the government failed to abide by its own Code of Practice on consultation: the consultation period was two weeks short of the recommended minimum period of twelve weeks; it took place over the Christmas period; and the Bill was presented to Parliament two days before the consultation period ended, meaning that none of the findings could be taken into account and incorporated into the report. So much for democracy...
  • the government has misrepresented the findings of the consultation. So much for public engagement...
  • the government claims that DLA claims have risen by 30% in eight years. The government have admitted that this figure is misleading and ‘distorted’ but are still using it to inform policy. So much for transparency...
  • the government seems to already be going ahead with some elements of the proposed new benefit despite overwhelmeing public opposition and the small fact that the legislation has not been passed. So much for parliamentary process...
  • the report demonstrates widespread opposition to and fear about the new legislation. So much for the Big Society and ‘we are all in this together’.....
  • the government is ignoring warnings that this legislation may break international Human Rights legislation and UK Equality legislation. So much for the rule of law.....

This is a call to action – please join the campaign in one of the following ways:

  • On Twitter: use the hashtag #spartacusreport and give your support
  • On Facebook: change your status to ‘I support the Spartacus Report’
  • By email: email your MP a link to the report and the following letter:

‘This report into Disability Allowance Reform has been written, researched and funded by disabled people. As one of your constituents, I am very concerned by its findings and the misrepresentation of disabled people that it exposes. Please will you read the report and support sick and disabled people in calling for a pause to Personal Independence Payments in light of this new research. I look forward to your response,’

Online: sign the petition.

Now say it. You know you want to. I AM SPARTACUS.


The cuts bite deeper in some places than others...

In the meantime, a new report by the Family and Parenting Institute and the Institute for Fiscal Studies on the impact of government austerity measures says that: "it is generally those families with the lowest incomes who are losing the most from the reforms...we see ample evidence that the cuts package will impact most on the least resilient types of family".In stark terms, "between 2010/11 and 2015/16, 500,000 more children will fall into absolute poverty".


Inequality in the UK is worse than it has been for decades...

  • The poorest 10% of the population have 1.3% of the country's total income between them, the richest 10% have 31%.
  • The second poorest 10% of the population have 4% of the country's total income between them, the second richest 10% have 15%.
  • The income of the richest 10% is more than the income of the poorest 50% combined.
  • This is not what a healthy society looks like. Come and join the campaign for a fairer Britain - it is time to Close the Gap.


New site, new conversation...

The Occupy movement have launched a new website to discuss and develop the future of the movement...

Wishing a happy new year to all the activists and campaigners out there - keep fighting, keep the faith

"Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer
the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul ..." Thomas Paine

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This site was updated on
2nd May 2018


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