Campaigners take action to fight against Disability Living Allowance cut
3 February 2011
Week of Action 6–12 February 2011
A coalition of leading disability charities has kick-started a national week of action to fight proposed Government cuts that will leave disabled people imprisoned in their homes.
Campaigners will be arriving at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, Wednesday 9 February, to challenge MPs about the Government’s decision to stop paying the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) mobility component to disabled people living in residential care.
The change, which starts in October 2012, will mean that thousands of disabled people in residential care will no longer have the funds to meet extra transport costs, such as an electric wheelchair or adapted car. This will have a devastating impact on 80,000 disabled people who rely on the allowance to live their lives independently.
The week of action, which is part of an ongoing national campaign to fight the proposed DLA mobility cut, starts on Saturday 6 February. The event has been organised by a coalition of leading disability charities, including Leonard Cheshire Disability, Mencap and Sense.
Other actions during the week will include a petition that will be handed over to the Government. Campaigners across the country who are unable to travel to Westminster are also being urged to meet their MP locally to talk to them about how this cut will impact on their lives and strip them of their independence.
Currently, disabled people living in state-funded residential homes have to use most of their income to pay for their own care, leaving them with a personal allowance of just £22 a week. Once they have paid for essential items, such as clothing and toiletries, there is very little left.
If the Government takes away the DLA mobility, people living in residential care will simply not have the money to get out and lead active lives.
Guy Parckar, Acting Director of Policy and Campaigns at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: "This change will have a massive impact on many people. It will leave disabled people trapped indoors, unable to get out into their community and take part in activities the rest of us take for granted, such as further education or spending time with family and friends. It will reduce people’s quality of life and stop them from enjoying the same opportunities as non-disabled people.
"We are strongly opposed to this change and encourage people around the UK to get involved in our week of action and help fight this cut. To find out more visit: www.LCDisability.org/dla
Mark Goldring, Mencap’s Chief Executive, said: "Care homes and local authorities don’t cover these costs, and with budgets being squeezed, how can they be expected to in the future? A report called Don’t limit mobility
, submitted to MPs from a group of 27 organisations, shows that the government’s reason for cutting this funding is simply wrong.
"We strongly urge the government to reconsider the proposal to remove the mobility component of DLA. Removing this benefit will take us back to the dark ages, essentially stripping people of control over their lives and leaving them stuck in residential care homes."
Sue Brown, Head of Public Policy, Sense, the national deafblind charity, said: "Cutting the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance for people who live in residential care will impose further isolation on disabled people, including those with deafblindness, and will effectively cut many disabled people off from their families and communities making them prisoners in their own home."