Disabled activists are hoping to secure one million names on a petition calling on the government to abandon any plans to scrap disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA).
The petition has been launched by the campaigning website The Political Cripple.
It states: “These benefits empower disabled people to be independent, to purchase care and support in ways that can never be replaced by centralised, administered systems.”
The site’s owner, Mark White, travelled from Cornwall to collect names for the petition outside the Houses of Parliament on 8 October, and was joined by other activists from across the south of England.
The petition will be open until 13 November – the final day of the consultation on the government’s care and support green paper – and will then be delivered to the prime minister.
There have been mounting protests from disabled people about the threat to scrap AA and DLA and hand the savings to local authorities to help pay for means-tested care services, since the possibility surfaced in July’s green paper.
The green paper discussed “integrating some elements of disability benefits, for example attendance allowance, to create a new offer for individuals with care needs”.
Many disabled people fear this threatens both DLA and AA, and the government has yet to rule this out.
The petition says this “integration” would “restrict the freedom of disabled people and their carers, cause increased bureaucracy and administration” and that “disabled people would lose choice and be again subjected to statutory interference in their lives”.
White said: “Equality is on life support for disabled people in this country.
“People either start responding to the bleeping alarms that are going off or that’s it.”
Adam Lotun, director of the consultancy Workplace Disability Adjustments, who was helping to collect names, said: “The money that people get from AA and DLA…is to pay for those extra services that those people actually need.
“Without DLA, I could not afford a wheelchair. It would remove my independence.”
And Gillian Eames, from Bromley, said she would be “on the breadline” without her DLA.
She said: “I am very angry. It frightens me. It would take away what dignity we have got.”
To add your name to the petition, visit www.politicalcripple.com
8 October 2009