Anger grows over government’s plans for DLA


Anger at the government’s plans to slash spending on disability living allowance (DLA) has continued to mount, with one disabled people’s organisation describing it as “wholesale, brutal attack on disabled people”.

Documents published after last month’s emergency budget reveal that the Treasury expects to cut the number of people claiming DLA – as well as spending on DLA – by a fifth by 2016.

The budget 2010 policy costings document says the cuts will be achieved by assessing all new and existing working-age DLA claimants through a new medical test over three years from 2013, along with “revised eligibility criteria”.

Anne Kane, policy manager for Inclusion London, the capital’s new Deaf and disabled people’s organisation, said the plans were “absolutely horrific”.

She said: “The government’s intention to shatter the lives of disabled people becomes clearer by the day.”

She said the aim of a 20 per cent reduction in the number of people receiving DLA and in spending on DLA was a “wholesale, brutal attack on disabled people which, particularly when considered together with the attack on incapacity benefit and attack on public services and other benefits, is without comparison in the post-war decades”.

A small number of MPs – mostly from opposition parties – have started to record their opposition to the plans by signing Commons early day motions (EDM).

EDM 369, by Labour MP Fiona O’Donnell, which states that the DLA reforms will lead to more disabled people living in poverty, has been signed by more than 30 MPs. EDM 393, put down by Labour MP Kate Hoey, criticises moves to introduce the new medical assessment, and has so far won cross-party support from 23 MPs.

Disabled activist Adam Lotun and three other disabled campaigners visited Parliament this week to lobby MPs to oppose the government’s DLA plans and sign Hoey’s EDM.

Lotun said he and his fellow activists spoke to more than 20 MPs and 40 researchers. Several MPs said they had believed the new assessment was just about “weeding out” benefit fraudsters.

Lotun said disabled people were “living in a state of fear” over the proposed cuts to DLA, along with other welfare reforms and plans to drastically cut government spending.

8 July 2010