Time to step forward on the Spartacus report

Alex Hern writes on the Spartacus report, which shows the extent of opposition to the changes to DLA

 

A new report on the proposed changes to disability living allowance (DLA) shows the extent of the government’s suppression of evidence around the issue.

The Department for Work and Pensions held a public consultation on the issue, but then proceeded to bury much of the findings.

A freedom of information request to the DWP revealed, among other things, that:

• 98 per cent of respondents objected to the qualifying period for benefits being raised from three months to six months

• 99 per cent of respondents objected to Disability Living Allowance no longer being used as a qualification for other benefits

• 92 per cent opposed removing the lowest rate of support for disabled people

As we reported on Friday, the Mayor of London’s submission to the consultation agreed with the vast majority of respondents on all three of those issues, arguing that:

“The three-month benefit qualification period [for Disability Living Allowance] should be retained, rather than extending this to six months as proposed”

And that he is:

“Concerned about the government suggestion to remove automatic entitlement [to Disability Living Allowance] for certain groups. Claims should be based on the needs and circumstances of the individual applying.”

The mayor also refused to support changing from a three-tier system of benefits to two, saying:

“As those on the lower rate care component may have  additional costs as a result of their impairment but may lose their access to this benefit as part of the proposed removal under the reforms.”

The mayor’s submission also highlighted the key fact to bear in mind when considering the DLA changes:

The Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5 per cent.

The report also concludes, among other things, that:

• Only seven per cent of organisations that took part in the consultation were fully in support of plans to replace DLA with PIP

• There was overwhelming opposition in the consultation responses to nearly all of the government’s proposals for DLA reform

• The government has consistently used inaccurate figures to exaggerate the rise in DLA claimants

• Respondents to the consultation repeatedly warned that the government’s plans could breach the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The full report, Responsible Reform, lays out the case for keeping DLA in great detail.

Sue Marsh asks supporters to join the campaign:

Tweeting using the hashtag #spartacusreport “I support the #spartacus report”

Change Facebook status to “I support the Spartacus Report”

Email your MP with the links to the report and the press release using this short covering letter

Disabled people will be hurt by the government’s reforms. It is in everyone’s interest to help this fight.

See also:

Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the leftDaniel Elton, January 6th 2012

Five reasons to oppose the welfare billDaniel Elton, December 12th 2011

Society and the media are failing the sick and disabledSue Marsh, May 13th 2011

Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardshipSue Marsh, January 24th 2011

Charities urge rethink on DLA mobility allowance cutsSarah Ismail, January 12th 2011

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.