Sunday, 6 February 2011

Last Chance: Sign to Stop Reform of Disability Living Allowance

This is your last chance to sign the petition to recall the public consultation on DLA reform. There are only a couple of days left until it needs to be submitted, and we need as much support as is possible. This petition is far stronger than any other out there, as it call for a complete halt to reform. Please sign and make sure that everybody you know has done so too.

We, the undersigned, urge the Minister for Disabled People to recall the Public Consultation on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reform, and to cease work on reform of this benefit, due to serious flaws in the consultation paper. As such, the consultation questions are deeply skewed and any answers will be likely to support wholesale reform. This is both unfair and unwise, and will cause hardship for many disabled people.

The case for reform has been criticized, and then completely demolished, by the various disability rights groups fighting reform. They accuse the DWP of building their argument without sufficient evidence. The claims that DLA can act as a barrier to work, in particular, are robustly questioned. Questions are also raised concerning the accuracy of the representation of supporting data. For example, the claim is made that DLA claims have risen by 30% in eight years - without accounting for population growth of 5% in this period, a pronounced demographic shift, and increased awareness of DLA.

Most devastating to the case for reform is the critique of proposed amendments, leading one to ask whether augmenting DLA might not be a better, cheaper way of improving employment opportunities, rather than launching an entirely new benefit. It would seem that the costs of such rebranding are only justified when savings are made by cutting the DLA caseload by 20%. This figure is, in and of itself, questionable – how is it possible to know that this many people can be removed?

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appears to be a case of cuts dressed as positive reform. Disability rights groups and charities have uniformly condemned the proposals, warning of dire consequences. The list of those affected includes: people who are mobile with aids; people with disabilities so severe that they are unable to be very active; care home residents; those who receive local authority care packages. Most other disabled people will suffer through needless reassessments upon the introduction of PIP, and re-testing every few years even when a condition cannot be treated.

There is a strong feeling amongst people with disabilities that the Coalition Government have declared war on us, with a continual ratcheting of pressure on us since the Emergency Budget in June 2010. Announcements on Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, and Disability Living Allowance have made us feel that the Government is scapegoating us and removing the support on which we depend. Iain Duncan-Smith’s comments to The Sun newspaper [01/12/2010) suggesting that Incapacity Benefit claimants were partly to blame for a large fiscal deficit caused by a recession, a bail-out of the banks and quantitative easing. Whilst there may be ways to improve DLA, they do not involve replacing it with a new benefit, and neither do they involve removing anyone from the claimant caseload.

1 comment:

Visually Impaired said...

HI I got a reply from my MP James Morris Rowley RegDLA Letter from MP James Morris
Thank you for contacting me about Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

I beleive that the government owe a duty to disbled people to promote their independenceand equality and I also beleive that it has a duty to ensure that it has the rightgovernance in place to deliver this support efficently and sensibly.

The Government is already undertaking large scale reform of the welfare system, for example the Universal Credit and it's flagship work programme. These welfare reforms are designed to protect people in the most vulnerable situations, including disabled people. The government has made clear that it is steadfast in its support for the principles of DLA, as a non means tested cash benefit contributing to the extra costs incurred by disabled people.

Howeve DLA is currently a poorly targeted and unsustainable benefit.Almost three million people receive this benefit at a forecast cost of £12 billion peryear. We now have a disability benefit which is confusing for individuals to understand, based on unclear criteria and often results in inconsistent awards, and since 1992, both the case load and the cost of DLA have grown to a level that is unsustainable. Changes to DLA are long overdue and must address questions of fairness and value, while supporting disabled people to lead independent lives. We must ensure DLAbetter reflects, the needs of disabled people today, rather than in the 1990's, and that it enables support to be targeted to those with the greatest need.

The government wants to bring disability benefits into the 21st Century by replacing DLA with a new Personal Independence Payment.. This is anopportuntiy to improve the support for disabled people and enable them to lead full, active and independent lives. The personal independce payment will maintain the key principles of DLA, but it will be delivered in a fairer, more consistent and sustainable manner. It is only rightthat support should be targeted at those disabled people who face the greatest challenges to leading independent lives and this reform is required to enable that, along with a clearer assessment process.

I want to assure you that those who are genuinely sick , disabled, or retired have nothing to fear. This government does not regard caring for the needy as a burden, but as a proud duty.

I hope that this reassures you and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours Sincerely

James morris