This is the first piece of good news from the political arena for a while: the National Assembly for Wales has stepped up to oppose DLA reform! The Broken of Britain has been speaking to two brilliant Assembly Members - Leanne Wood and Bethan Jenkins. Leanne tabled this statement, and she and Bethan have written to Welsh Assembly Government Ministers who will put pressure on the Westminster Government.
The Assembly has no power to control benefits, meaning that they will not be able to mitigate DLA reform - the Assembly Members who tabled this statement are worried about their disabled constituents. There are wider implications for Wales too - because the Assembly does control health and social care spending. There will be more pressure on health and social care when DLA is cut, and it is the Assembly who will pay.
If you live in Wales, e-mail your AM, and ask them to sign this Statement of Opinion. If not, write to your representatives in Scottish Parliament, the NI Assembly or the House of Commons to do similarly.
Non-partisan UK-based Disability campaign. Advocacy for people with invisible illness and/or physical & mental health conditions. Also Carers, their Families and Friends. Our individual voices are too quiet to be heard, but collectively we can shout loud enough to drown out this tide of abuse against us. Disability Hate Crime, lack of full legal protection, people in care homes costing too much to be let out and not one political party willing to fight for us.
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Wales Opposes DLA Reform
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Ardderchog! (excellent!) It's great to see Wales taking the lead at this extremely important juncture concerning disabled people. I've been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and in receipt of DLA, for which I'm very grateful. Due to my condition, finding and maintaining employment is very difficult, consequently the DLA is a vital component for the whole family. If the reform goes ahead and I'm refused the new PIP benefit, we will definitely struggle financially. Therefore, I wholeheartedly support Leanne and Bethan in their worthwhile cause to support disabled people. Well done to you both!
At present, awards of DLA trigger additional funds to local authorities and Wales has been at the top of an unenviable league table in terms of DLA awards per head of population. This means a further financial hit for councils and a likely knock-on effect in terms of support for disabled people. The cause of Wales being at the top of such a list? Poverty and a history of heavy industry, both taking their toll on the health of the population.
DLA could use a measure of reform though. Improve the quality of first decisions and reduce the need for costly appeals. With a majority of appeals being successful, it points to problems in the system. Improving the quality and effectiveness of medical assessments would be a step in the right direction. Expensive? Not when you factor in the cost of appeals no longer happening.
In the meantime, have you tried to get compenent tribunal representation lately? The Government's own research shows that an appeal is more likely to succeed with representation. Because reps know the loop holes? No, because they help tribunals make the right decision.
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