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Emergency Stop - the impact of disability benefit changes

Campaign group We Are Spartacus is calling for the government to ‘go back to the drawing board’ on proposals to replace disability living allowance (DLA) after it buried last-minute changes to criteria which will see thousands more disabled people with mobility difficulties lose out than expected. The call comes as it publishes ‘Emergency Stop’, a new report analysing the impact of the announcement.

The unexpected changes, slipped out in Parliament last month (13 December 2012), mean the criteria for the enhanced mobility rate of the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP), has tightened. The qualification has changed from being able to walk 50 metres to being able to walk 20 metres.

Jane Young, who co-authored the report for the We Are Spartacus campaign group said:

“This not only condemns thousands more disabled people to the worry of losing out under the new benefit and the isolation this will bring. It also highlights the lie that the government’s reforms are targeted to support those in need.

Government protestations about consultation are a nonsense if it takes no notice of what disabled people and their organisations say. Of the 173 consultation responses from organisations on the new PIP, only one suggested the qualifying distance for those who have the most difficulty getting around should be changed.

And why has there been no parliamentary debate on such a significant policy change? Is it because government has already decided that this is about saving money rather than meeting need?”

The group is also calling for the government to incorporate people’s ability to undertake tasks ‘reliably’ into the regulations for PIP, which will ensure both assessments and appeal hearings consistently take account of factors such as pain, fatigue, breathlessness and other symptoms generated by undertaking tasks.

For more information or to obtain a copy of ‘Emergency Stop’ email:

Ben Furner or telephone 01273 463461 or 07946355795

The report can also be downloaded here: