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Crowdsourced research reveals strong opposition to disability benefit reform

Freedom of Information-based research finds that Government misled MPs and Peers over hostility to disability benefit reform

A report published today finds that Government misled MPs and Peers over the hostility to disability benefit reform. It reveals that Parliament has been given only a partial view of the overwhelming opposition to the Coalition’s planned reforms of a key disability benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The research finds that this opposition was previously not released to public scrutiny by the Government. 

The report, Responsible Reform (pdf), was entirely researched, written and funded by disabled people, and coordinated by Sue Marsh and Kaliya Franklin of the blogs The Broken of Britain and Diary of a Benefit Scrounger. It is based on the responses to the government's own consultation on its planned DLA reforms, which were only made public once disabled people requested them under the Freedom of Information Act.

Findings included:

The research also uncovered the opposition of London’s Conservative Mayor, Boris Johnson, to the proposed changes, who, as Left Foot Forward reports, also challenged the "benefit scrounger" myth:

"The government proposes imposing penalties if disabled people do not inform the government in changes in their circumstances. However, the Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5%. For those with fluctuating conditions asking them to report every change to their condition would prove very stressful."

The report suggests that the government’s DLA consultation breached the government’s own code of practice and was “highly misleading”. 

Researchers have used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain more than 500 responses to the consultation that were submitted by disabled people’s organisations, disability charities and other groups, and have carried out the first detailed, independent analysis of those responses.

How you can help

The report's authors request that supporters post links to the research and related news on Facebook and Twitter with the message "I support the #spartacusreport" between 10am-6pm today (Monday 9 January).

They also urge supporters to email the report and press release to their MPs with the message:

“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."

• Find out more at The Broken of Britain and Diary of a Benefit Scrounger

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