18 January 2012
Green Party: Cuts to Disability Living Allowance will push carers to the edge
A proposed reform of the Disability Living Allowance has come under fire from campaigners who claim it could put more people into poverty, with a Lords vote taking place tonight. Disabilities minister Maria Miller claims that as much as £600m is being overpaid every year and has proposed replacing the DLA with a Personal Independent Plan that regularly assesses its claimants.
However, Campaigners want the plans to be postponed until the government can provide a suitable medical assessment, which is not yet ready. Furthermore, many disabled people have expressed concerns that the government is not currently able to provide an assessment which will be fair to them.
Scrutiny of the reform also suggests the government is arbitrarily setting savings targets, in this case a 20% reduction in DLA, to drive down the welfare bill and budget deficit. A sweeping cut of 20% will inevitably disadvantage certain groups of vulnerable people that rely on this income support.
current system where a private company has been contracted to simply reduce
benefits rather that to provide object assessments looks set to be replaced by
an even worse system, if that were even possible.
"Benefit fraud is a tiny problem when compared to the problems of tax avoidance. Sadly the bullies in government stick up for their friends in the city rather than those people who really need support."
Stuart Jeffery, Green Party Policy Co-ordinator
Despite this, the fact that some people have remained on DLA after their condition improves is certainly cause for concern and needs to be looked into. However, the positives are outweighed by the negative consequences for many of those living with disabilities.
The new reforms once again show that the government is more concerned with cutting costs than helping the least vulnerable in society.