Green paper welcomed, but concerns remain


Disabled campaigners have welcomed the publication of the government’s care and support green paper as a “new vision” that could promote equality, but have expressed disappointment at its lack of “concrete plans”.
Two leading disabled people’s organisations, the National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL) and RADAR, said the green paper offered “much potential” and could help deliver equal citizenship for many older and disabled people.
They welcomed the green paper’s proposal to provide “portability” – allowing people with care and support needs to move from one council area to another without having to be reassessed or restart an application for social services.
They also welcomed the core idea of a “National Care Service”, with minimum entitlements for everyone, as opposed to the current “postcode lottery” of support.
And they said they were pleased that the green paper was “underpinned” by the language of equality and human rights.
The green paper says people with care and support needs “should be treated as citizens with rights, rather than having to fight to get services”, and their human rights “must be respected”.
But RADAR and NCIL said they were concerned that responsibility for administering benefits such as disability living allowance (DLA), attendance allowance (AA) and the independent living funds (ILF) might pass from central government to local authorities.
They said three-quarters of English councils have “massively restricted” access to services and only provide support to people with the highest levels of need, and they feared the same would happen to DLA, AA and ILF.
Mike Smith, chair of NCIL, said government leadership had come through its “new vision for how we support individuals to become full and equal citizens”.
But he said the green paper merely laid out possible options and would need “further debate and development” and so could be “a lost opportunity”, because there would be no time for legislation before the next general election.
Liz Sayce, chief executive of RADAR, added: “We need a system that enables disabled people to have a life – on our own terms. Now is the time to accelerate progress and deliver reform.”
A consultation on the green paper lasts until 13 November, with a white paper following next year. Visit
15 July 2009