Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support

Councillor Neil Coyle, director of policy for the Disability Alliance, reports on the government's refusal to act on public concerns over disability allowance reforms.

Neil Coyle is director of policy for the Disability Alliance and a Labour Councillor in Southwark; he writes here in a personal capacity

It has been eight months since the government announced a 20 per cent cut to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) expenditure and almost two months since the formal consultation on government plans ended.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) describe the level of responses as:

“One of the biggest ever consultations… with more than 5500 responses from disabled people and disability organisations.”

Disability charities have witnessed massive levels of concern over the future of support. Over 1,750 people contacted Disability Alliance alone to outline fears over the impact of the cuts. After such a significant level of interest and concern, DWP responded to the consultation on 5 April announcing… absolutely no change to plans.

Despite the high level of responses and fears, the government is ploughing ahead with a £2.17 billion reduction in support – and even remains committed to axing mobility support for almost 80,000 disabled people living in care homes.

This is despite the following exchange at PMQs on March 23rd 2011:

Ed Miliband: “Will the Prime Minister explain why he proposes to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance from 80,000 care home residents?”

David Cameron: “The short answer is that we are not.”

For the record; clause 83 of the welfare reform bill will remove eligibility for the DLA replacement (Personal Independence Payment) benefit from care home residents from March 2013. If you live in a care home you will not qualify for support and DWP have confirmed that the government has no plans to amend or remove the clause.

The government’s decision to continue on a path which will deny help to thousands of disabled people and leave many more families in poverty is a bitter blow. It is hugely disappointing for the many disabled people and their families who have raised concerns in an apparently vain attempt to ensure their voices were heard.

But the government’s response to the formal consultation also fails to answer queries concerning the potential knock-on costs to other public services of cutting direct help. A loss of direct support may reduce ability to manage health conditions and could require avoidable (and expensive) hospitalisation for example. Families also report potentially seeking council funded residential care home placements for disabled loved ones if current DLA support to live in the family home is lost.

Councils may not have resources to help under broader government cuts of course.

DWP also remains unwilling to publicly estimate how many disabled people might lose help as a result of the plans, which include abolishing low rate care payments. Removing all support from the 643,000 people receiving low rate care payments (including associated mobility awards) would cut £1.4bn and provide two thirds of the government target.

Eight months of “engagement” with government has produced nil change in plans bar a six-month delay for cutting care home mobility support originally set for October 2012.

A consortium of organisations and individuals are now delivering a direct action “disability lobby” and march on Westminster on May 11th 2011 in one further attempt to ensure parliamentarians and government understand the potential impact of the cuts.

• Visit www.hardesthit.org.uk for further information.

35 Responses to “Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support”

  1. BendyGirl

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  2. xxxJoolsxxx

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  3. Stephen Barry

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  4. Rosemary

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  5. Melwood News

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  6. Neil Coyle

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  7. Romila Chaplin

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  8. Dinner

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  9. Brian Barefield

    RT @CarerWatch: RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/04/government-cuts-to-disability-support/

  10. Kevin Arscott

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  11. Romila Chaplin

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support http://bit.ly/exZbN7

  12. Brian Barefield

    RT @Romilagupta: RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support http://bit.ly/exZbN7

  13. techno peasant

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  14. Margo Milne

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  15. Sari B

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  16. Double.Karma

    RT @Romilagupta: RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support http://bit.ly/exZbN7

  17. Jason

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  18. David Gray

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  19. Chris

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  20. The F-Word

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  21. Average Joe

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ writes @coyleneil

  22. Mr. Sensible

    The whole welfare reform agenda has just been rushed.

  23. Carolyn Anderson

    Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support | Left Foot Forward http://goo.gl/g450c

  24. Martha Trust

    RT @leftfootfwd: Neil Coyle on Government's plans to plough on with cuts to disability support http://bit.ly/exZbN7

  25. Kevin Richards

    Another issue of ignoring the views of the populus – #Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support http://bit.ly/exZbN7

  26. Paul Kenny

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support http://bit.ly/exZbN7

  27. paulstpancras

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  28. Daniel Pitt

    Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ #ConDemNation

  29. David Henry

    RT @myinfamy: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support: http://bit.ly/gliaqQ #ConDemNation

  30. Caroline Richardson

    We have met with MP’s, given evidence at their meetings, signed petitions, blogged, used the media and spent thousands of hours scrutinising their policies and completing their consultations.

    They have ignored the thousands and thousands of personal accounts, the hundreds of groups and organisations, the professionals and the terrified individuals.

    The march will not be an option for many, I am unsure what else we can now do.
    I have spent a vast amount of energy from my very finite supply trying to be a part of fighting these policies, and all it has achieved is a massive down-turn in my health.
    Those who will not be affected by these cuts need to help us, we need people who, unlike me, will not fall by the wayside because their health and disability betrays them.

  31. Aga

    RT @BrokenOfBritain: Government ploughs on regardless with cuts to disability support | Left Foot Forward http://fb.me/LHU9GOOn

  32. Spir.Sotiropoulou

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  33. hindle-a

    Caroline -please try not to make yourself ill(er)-I do not happen to be disabled or ill-and this Government appals me day by day in its relentless misinformed intentions concerning people with disabilities-I am sure I am not alone and the more that is highlighted about what the Government is really doing(granted they are sneaky and slippery as a worm in that regard) more people will be horrified disabled or not and will be prepared to argue,protest etc-that is my hope-naive or no but all decent people must fight against their intentions.

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