Mind backs disabled campaigners' DLA report
Posted Monday 9 January 2012
Mind has backed a report by disabled campaigners, which exposes the shortcomings of the Government’s reforms to Disability Living Allowance.
The Responsible Reform report was “entirely written, researched, funded, and supported by sick and disabled people, their friends and carers”, including the prominent bloggers and campaigners Sue Marsh (Diary of a Benefit Scrounger) and Kaliya Franklin (The Broken of Britain).
Based on over 500 responses to the original Government consultation on DLA reform, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the report argues that the Government has downplayed the level of opposition to the reforms expressed by charities and other organisations.
The report also reveals that the rising caseload in recent years, which the Government has characterised as the benefit 'getting out of control’, is actually in large part down to improved access to the benefit for people with mental health problems. This calls into question the Government’s justification for attempting to reduce the cost of the benefit by 20 per cent.
Based on these findings, the campaigners have called for the reforms to be delayed for six months so that the rationale and implications can be properly understood and discussed. Mind is supporting this request.
Commenting on the report, Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
The ‘Responsible Reform’ report is essential reading for everyone with an interest in Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reform including the Government and Department for Work and Pensions Select Committee.
It is a vital contribution to the debate on reform and a huge achievement for the volunteers who have produced it.
As well as forensically deconstructing many of the arguments offered by the Government for their proposed reform, the report shows that much of the rise in claimants over recent years has been down to better access to the benefit for people with mental health problems, whose needs are often fluctuating and invisible.
Rather than getting out of control as the Government claims, DLA has been increasingly going to people who really need it.
The proposed 20 per cent cut to the budget will have an enormous impact on many people with illnesses and disabilities, and we remain very concerned about the unintended consequences this could lead to.
Read the full report: ‘Responsible Reform’