Monday 7 March 2011

Letter On Anti-Disability Provisions

This is the text of a letter which appeared in The Guardian on the 8th of March, 2011:

The welfare reform bill, to be given its second reading in the Commons tomorrow, disguises cuts and changes to a number of benefits that will punish disabled people. In particular, the bill will time-limit contribution-related employment support allowance to 365 days, so that a claimant becomes ineligible after a year if their spouse or partner works.

The bill confirms that disability living allowance (DLA) will be replaced by the personal independence payment, which will use unfair assessment and conditions to disqualify 20% of the current DLA caseload. The inclusion of this change in the bill took place before the consultation on DLA reform was completed. The reasons for this reform are unclear, as reported by the social security advisory committee, with ministers denying that cuts are the motivation for change. Objectivity and independence of assessment are some of the reasons offered by the minister for disabled people; while there may be a case for objective assessment, we believe that evidence from GPs and specialists should be sufficient in many cases as it is at present. We are concerned that the reasons given by the minister suggest GPs and specialists cannot be trusted to provide medical evidence.

Available evidence, including DWP research, suggests DLA is an efficient and well-regarded benefit, with the lowest rate of fraud in the benefits system. As such, any reforms should be undertaken with caution, and it is important that any evidence-gathering is relevant, truly independent and conducted by appropriately qualified professionals, and that proper weight is given to other evidence, for example from the claimant's GP.

For these reasons, we call for the reform of DLA, and other "anti-disability" provisions that will place extra pressure on social care and social services, to be removed from the welfare reform bill.

Yours sincerely,

Hywel Williams MP
Kate Green MP
Jon Cruddas MP
John McDonnell MP
Jonathan Edwards MP
Glenda Jackson MP
Martin Caton MP
Rt Hon Elfyn Llwyd MP
Linda Fabiani MSP
Kenneth Gibson MSP
Jamie Hepburn MSP
Anne McLaughlin MSP
Bill Kidd MSP
Leanne Wood AM
Bethan Jenkins AM
Helen-Mary Jones AM
Nerys Evans AM
Dai Lloyd AM
Lord Dafydd Wigley of Caernarfon
Baroness Anna Healy of Primrose Hill
Gavin Hayes, Compass (Director)
Hilton Dawson, BASW, the College of Social Work (Chief Executive)
Alison Garnham, Child Poverty Action Group (Chief Executive)
Alexandra Kemp, Women and Carers' Pensions Network
Anne Coote, New Economics Foundation (Head of Social Policy)
Prof. Julie Allan (University of Stirling), Education
Prof. Colin Barnes (University of Leeds), Disability Studies
Prof. Peter Beresford (Brunel University), Social Policy
Prof. Anne Borsay (Swansea University), Medical Humanities
Prof. Roger Burrows (University of York), Sociology of Health and Illness
Prof. John Carpenter (University of Bristol), Social Work
Prof. Luke Clements (Cardiff University), Disability Rights Law
Prof. Viviene Cree (University of Edinburgh), Social Work
Prof. Graham Crow (University of Southampton), Sociology
Dr. Graham Day (Bangor University), Social Science
Prof. Ann Davis (University of Birmingham), Social Work
Prof. Hartley Dean (LSE), Social Policy
Prof. Mark Drakeford (Cardiff University), Social Policy
Prof. Nick Ellison (University of Leeds, Sociology and Social Policy
Dr Iain Ferguson (University of Stirling), Social Work
Dr. Joanna Ferrie (University of Glasgow), Disability Research
Prof. Mike Floyd (City University), Disability and Rehabilitation
Dr. Margaret Flynn, Journal of Adult Protection (Editor)
Prof. Barry Goldson (University of Liverpool), Charles Booth Chair of Social Science
Prof. Nick Gould (University of Bath), Social Work
Prof. Gordon Grant (Sheffield Hallam University), Health and Social Care
Prof. Jennifer Harris (University of Dundee), Disability Research
Dr, Laura Hemingway (University of Leeds), Disability and Housing
Prof. Paul Higgs (UCL), Sociology of Ageing
Prof. Kelley Johnson (University of Bristol), Disability Policy and Practice
Prof. Michael Lavalette (Liverpool Hope University), Head of Social Work
Professor the Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett, Social Policy
Prof. Jane Millar (University of Bath), Social Policy
Prof. Patrick McGuiness (University of Oxford), Modern Languages
Dr. Janice McLaughlin (Newcastle University), Policy and Ethics
Prof. Stuart Murray (University of Leeds), Contemporary Literature and Film
Prof. Andrew Oswald (University of Warwick), Economics and Behavioural Sciences
Dr. Kevin Paterson (University of Glasgow), Disability Research
Prof. Chris Phillipson (Keele University), Applied Social Studies
Dr. Susan Pickard (University of Liverpool), Sociology of Chronic Illness
Prof. Mark Priestley (University of Leeds), Disability Policy
Prof. Diane Richardson (Newcastle University), Social Policy
Dr. Gwyneth Roberts (Bangor University), Social Policy
Prof. Alan Roulstone (Northumbria University), Applied Social Sciences
Prof. Karen Rowlingson (University of Birmingham), Social Policy
Prof. Jonathan Rutherford (Middlesex University), Cultural Studies
Dr. Sonali Shah (University of Leeds), Disability Studies
Dr. Alison Sheldon (University of Leeds), Disability Studies
Dr. Margrit Shildrick (Queen’s University Belfast), Disability Theory
Prof. Nick Spencer (University of Warwick), Child Health
Prof. Paul Spicker (Robert Gordon University), Public Policy
Prof. Bruce Stafford (University of Nottingham), Disability and Social Policy
Prof. Kirsten Stalker (University of Strathclyde), Social Work
Prof. Guy Standing (University of Bath), Economic Security
Prof. John Swain (Northumbria University), Disability and Inclusion
Prof. Allan Walker (University of Sheffield), Social Policy and Social Gerontology
Prof. Nick Watson (University of Glasgow), Disability Research
Dr. Rose Wiles (University of Southampton), Sociology of Chronic Illness
Prof. Charlotte Williams (Keele University), Social Policy
Prof. Fiona Williams OBE (University of Leeds), Social Policy
Prof. John Williams (Aberystwyth University), Welfare Law
Prof. Sue Wise (Lancaster University), Social Justice
Dr. Sarah Woodin (University of Leeds), Disability and Independent Living
Prof. Alys Young (University of Manchester), Social Work Education and Research
Peter Ede MA (Cantab), Solicitor
Alan Woodall GP
Shannon Murray, model and actress
Liz Crow, Roaring Girl Productions
Anne Novis MBE, disability rights campaigner
James Hourihan, Timian Training and Development (Director)
Naomi Jacobs, campaigner and PhD student in disability studies
Fiona Laird, theatre director and writer
Mat Fraser, actor and comedian
Claire Litt, freelance interior and exhibition designer
Sue Marsh, campaigner on chronic illness
Lisa Egan, Helen Thomas, Philippa Willitts, Emma Crees, DH Kelly, Louise Bolotin, Sharon Brennan, of the Where’s the Benefit? blog
Frances Kelly, Rosemary O’Neill, founders of CarerWatch
Carole Rutherford, on behalf of Act Now
Kaliya Franklin, Rhydian Fôn James, Lisa Ellwood, Melissa Smith, on behalf of The Broken of Britain


Oya's Daughter said...

Wow, I am absolutely staggered at the long list of names on this document. Well done for putting all this together!

Anonymous said...

Sarah Ismail of the Same Difference blog would be more than happy to add her signature.

Visually Impaired said...

Please add my name I would be glad to sign this letter and stand up and be counted. Kyron Hodgetts

Anonymous said...

I would like to sign it too - Rosemary Bland

Unknown said...

Wow! Well Done!Is it too late to add signatures?

TiddK said...

I'd like to sign too, even though I have no energy left to contribute much more than that.

Arbeit macht frei.

The Consummate Critical Cat said...

I want to sign too!

Patrick John Dennis Conyard said...

I want to sign if possible too. Martin Conyard

Unknown said...

Hooray, what a relief to see such prominent names stand up for our rights. Thank you all.

Rhydian said...

To all, sorry for the delay in replying - it's been a busy day! I'm afraid that the letter has already gone to The Guardian. Please e-mail me at so that I can contact you for future open letters. Also, please send the letter template posted as part of the campaign.

Anonymous said...

But perhaps people can still leave their signature here to confirm they support it?

Anonymous said...

The government is acting in an unlawfull manner by Conspiring with ATOS to pervert the course of Justice, Dont trust any body working for or with this government, Refuse to undergo a medical with anybody, On the grounds that you do not trust them and Put it in writing to the DWP.

Anonymous said...

The governments/DWP Secret BLUE BOOK states that DLA is awarded mostly on the level of Pain that the claiment suffers...... So NO pain NO gain

Margi said...

It is SO wonderful to know that those who have been Blessed with much in this world are, as usual wanting to hold it to themselves, rather than having compassion for those less fortunate than themselves! Of course if you are a mum who has never worked a day in her life, but can afford nannies while you sit by a pool drinking and painting your toenails - or having someone do it for you... if you are a youngster living a dissolute life whilst being supported by your family wealth... if you are continually high on drugs in between board room/bank meetings... if you are any, or ALL of these things you won't have a problem - because you aren't 'scrounging off the state' so you can do what you like!!! Nye Bevin must be rolling in his grave at what is happening in our country now!!!

Margi Hughes said...

Please add my name to the form!

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