Patrick Butler, Society Editor at the Guardian, has done a splendid job in providing rolling coverage of the report stage debates in the House of Lords on the Welfare Reform Bill. He is again coordinating a live blog today (17 January 2012).
Writing in The Guardian, Declan Gaffney, former policy advisor to the previous Mayor of London and to the previous government, has written in a personal capacity about what is at stake in the continuing struggle over disabled rights and the Welfare Reform Bill.
Yesterday I went to meet the "Amendment Lords" ahead of today's crucial votes in the second chamber, where the Welfare Reform Bill (WRB) debate moves from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), the income replacement benefit for people with work-limiting conditions, to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which is intended to help with the extra costs people incur as a result of severe disability.
The government claims that its determined attempts to cut the living standards of the poor are necessary to cut public spending. Many have pointed out that the Welfare Reform Bill and other changes have immediate and long-term costs attached, so will not save nearly as much as is claimed. The rationale for harsh new measures looks even flimsier since it has emerged that the government is shelling out public money to take paid work away from the poor.
In preparation for the House of Lords debate on the Welfare Reform Bill (WRB) tomorrow, where Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will be in the spotlight, the #spartacusreport campaign (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/spartacusreport) has launched a fresh initiative - #spartacusstories, which gives people the opportunity through Twitter, blogs and other social media to tell their own stories of why DLA is important to them and the realities of living and surviving as a sick or disabled person.