Friday, 28 January 2011


Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams MP has criticised the Con-Dem UK Government’s consultation on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reform, arguing that their welfare reforms are unfairly targeting and stigmatising claimants.

He accused the UK Government of portraying DLA claimants as ‘scroungers’ with the consultation drawing a supposed connection with claimants’ motivation to work and employment levels.

Mr Williams noted that DLA claimants tend to be older, less-well qualified, on benefits for longer, and in poorer health than other disabled people, and that this explained why so few were in work.

The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) helps people meet additional costs of disability such as extra heating, replacement of clothing and transport for those unable to help themselves.

The UK Government is planning to replace DLA with a new benefit – Personal Independence Payment and all claimants will need to undergo new testing.

244,110 people claim Disability Living Allowance in Wales – 213,780 of those claim it with the mobility component.

Mr Williams, a former social worker, said:

“The DLA is a payment which gives disabled people some independence and control over their lives, but the Tories and Lib Dems are trying to link claiming this with being unwilling to work.

“DLA is given to people because of their disability, rather than being means-tested. People get it because there are extra costs associated with being disabled.

“For example, people who are unable to walk any distance will need to take more taxis than someone who is fully able bodied, just in order to go shopping, to hospital or just to go out and take part in their communities.

“The government is trying to use a cause as a consequence. People who claim DLA tend to be older, less-well qualified, on benefits for longer, and in poorer health than other disabled people, and, therefore, are less likely to be working.

“They are not in work because they are disabled, not refusing to work because they claim DLA.

“People shouldn’t be punished for their disabilities, yet that is exactly what this Tory and Lib Dem government is trying to do with these changes.

“Nobody doubts that welfare reform is necessary, but this cut is totally unfair and will impact on the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

“There is no doubt that we need to reform the complicated benefits system - but people still need to be treated like individuals. Vulnerable people in our communities should not be penalised – that is the mark of a civilised society.”

Rhydian Fon James from disability group ‘The Broken of Britain’ added:

“I contacted Hywel on behalf of disability rights group “The Broken of Britain” to express concern about the reforms proposed to DLA.

“The UK Government has provided little or no reason to justify the changes that they are making which will have a substantial impact upon the everyday lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

“I am glad that Hywel has responded strongly to these proposals that would cause hardship for thousand of disabled people beyond his own constituency in Wales.”


Notes / Nodiadau:

Read more from Rhydian Fon James at:

Mr Williams’ EDM reads:


Hywel Williams

Jonathan Edwards

Elfyn Llwyd

“That this House expresses concern at the presentation of the case for reform of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in the public consultation published on 6th December 2010; believes that said consultation incorrectly confuses correlation with causation between DLA claimants and employment levels or motivation to work, and notes that DLA claimants tend to be older, less-well qualified, on benefits for longer and in poorer health than other disabled people; is of the opinion that that many of the claims made in support of changing DLA are unsubstantiated in the consultation text or supporting evidence; does not accept the argument that the identified problems with the present format of DLA are insoluble without the introduction of a costly new benefit; believes that the presentation of the case for these reforms is highly flawed and expresses concern that the language used in the consultation may mislead readers when drawing conclusions from the evidence presented and therefore influence their response to the consultation.”

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