11 August 2009

Scissors cutting DLA and AA labelsAn astonishing 13,815 people have signed up to Benefits and Work’s No More Benefits Cuts campaign in the first six days after it was launched.  Many people have already begun to take action to fight the proposed abolition of some disability benefits as proposed in the care green paper.

Benefits and Work sent out an email newsletter on Wednesday 5th August outlining the threat to disability benefits posed by the green paper and asking people to sign up to a campaign to help fight the proposed cuts.  Within 24 hours over 5,000 people had signed up and the contents of the newsletter had appeared on blogs, forums and social networking sites all over the net.

In addition, within days of the campaign starting Disability Alliance published a statement making it clear that it was against the idea of abolishing AA (See DLA and AA fight-back begins ).

Even more importantly, the highly respected disability charity RNIB published a statement on its website saying that it would actively oppose the proposal to abolish AA.  (See RNIB comes out fighting for DLA and AA).

They are the first charity to defy the government in this way and their very public statement will increase the pressure on other charities to follow suit.

Hundreds of people have been happy to begin campaigning without waiting for any suggestions from us.  We’ve heard from many people who have emailed and phoned their MPs, mostly receiving responses along the lines of ‘We’ll look into this and get back to you.’

Lots of people have also contacted the local and national media and, we understand, there has been some coverage at a local level. 

Many people have cited Benefits and Work as the source of the information and, sadly, we’re quite sure that if the campaign does attract press attention, much of the focus will be a tabloid attack on the site and its members, rather than the issue of disability benefits.

Which is why the first of our weekly campaign emails, which went out this morning, asks recipients to contact disability groups and urge them to campaign against the proposed abolition of disability benefits.  Respectable national charities are likely to get much more sympathetic treatment from the media than we are.

There has been no shortage of activity on other websites either.  Over at www.carerwatch.com they’ve already been emailing disability charities and agencies involved in the green paper consultation and asking for their response to the the proposals.  The news has created a great deal of discussions on the net too.  We’ve even been warned that a story is circulating on several forums that the whole campaign is based around our having hidden a malicious virus in the green paper.  We haven’t – the malice is all in the text.

We’ve also head from people starting local actions.  In Cornwall, for example, Mark White and Debbie George are launching a campaign against the possible changes because, they say, poverty and social isolation are already evident in the county among disabled people, but will be compounded if DLA and AA are abolished. 

Their first planned event is a petition signing in Truro on 25 August 2009 at 12 noon.  It is hoped that the campaign climax will see Cornish disabled people going to London to hand in personal responses to the Green Paper.  The national online petition can be accessed here.

Anyone interested in helping with the Cornish campaign, or getting further information, can contact  Debbie on 07919592427, or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you’re organising an event or if you get an interesting response from an MP, disability charity or anyone else, please do email us or – if you’re a member – post in the forum

We’ve had some other suggestions for actions too.  One person who wishes to remain anonymous proposed putting up ‘Save Disability Benefits’ candidates in the constituencies of ministers who signed the green paper.  They also suggested adding Ed Balls, husband of DWP minister Yvette Cooper, in the hopes of reducing the Cooper-Balls household income.

We’ve also had lots of people suggesting we put a petition on number 10 downing street website.  However, this is closed for new petitions until Gordon gets back off his holidays on September 7th.

If you haven’t already signed up for the campaign you can do so here.

For those looking for things to do to further the cause, please visit our Take action page.


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