Affront to democracy contemptuous & arrogant is the best way to describe the actions of the ConDem government in the UK.
A New Report out today shows overwhelming opposition to the UK coalition’s disability benefit reforms kept hidden by the government.
Conservative Mayor of London heavily critical of government’s plans for Disability Living Allowance.
Report was entirely researched, written, funded and supported by disabled people.
A report published today (9 January) finds that Government misled MPs and Peers over the hostility to disability benefit reform. It finds that Parliament has been given only a partial view of the overwhelming opposition to the Coalition’s planned reforms of a key disability benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA). It finds that this opposition was previously not released to public scrutiny by the Government.
It is based on the responses to the government's own consultation on its planned DLA reforms, which were only made public once disabled people requested them under the Freedom of Information Act. Findings included:
* 98 per cent of respondents objected to the qualifying period for benefits being raised from 3 months to 6 months
* 99 per cent of respondents objected to Disability Living Allowance no longer being used as a qualification for other benefits
* 92% opposed removing the lowest rate of support for disabled people
In all three cases, as well as many others, London’s Conservative Mayor, Boris Johnson also objected to the proposed changes. He said in his response
“The Mayor would call for the Government to retain the three-month qualifying period as the increase to six months will mean that people with fluctuating conditions have increased difficulty meeting the qualifying period. People with fluctuating conditions face the same barriers that all disabled face in relation to higher costs of living and DLA is essential to maintain a decent quality of life.”
“We would recommend that the passporting system remains the same as under DLA as it has worked well when signposting people to additional benefits to which they may be entitled.”
“The Mayor does not support this change, 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 also objected to the government's strategy for clamping down on disability benefit fraud, arguing:
"The government proposes imposing penalties if disabled people do not inform the government in changes in their circumstances. However, the Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5%. For those with fluctuating conditions asking them to report every change to their condition would prove very stressful."
The Mayor’s views were representative of the overwhelming majority of responses to the Government’s consultation..
The new report, Responsible Reform, suggests that the government’s DLA consultation breached the government’s own code of practice and was “highly misleading”.
Researchers have used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain more than 500 responses to the consultation that were submitted by disabled people’s organisations, disability charities and other groups – including the response submitted by Boris Johnson – and have carried out the first detailed, independent analysis of those responses.
The analysis showed overwhelming opposition to replacing DLA with a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The government also plans to cut spending on DLA/PIP by 20%.
The new report has been researched, written and funded by sick and disabled people, thousands of whom contributed to the research through their use of social media.
Its authors now hope to use the report to persuade members of the House of Lords to back an adjournment debate calling for a pause of at least 6 months. In that time, plans for PIP should be reconsidered with the views of disabled people properly taken into account.
The report has already been backed by organisations and disability experts including :
- Disability Alliance
- Papworth Trust
- Bert Massie CBE &