DISABILITY campaigners demonstrated in front of the Houses of Parliament to show how the Government’s proposed removal of the Disability Living Allowance mobility component will leave disabled people trapped in their homes.
The change, which is planned to start in October 2012, will mean that thousands of disabled people in residential care will no longer have the funds to meet extra transport costs that disability brings.
The campaigners say this will have a devastating impact on 80,000 disabled people who rely on the allowance to maintain their independence by covering the costs of getting around.
Currently, disabled people living in state-funded residential homes have to use most of their income to pay for their own care, leaving them with a personal allowance of just £22 a week.
The demonstration was set up by a coalition of leading disability charities, including Leonard Cheshire Disability, Mencap and Sense.
Guy Parckar, acting director of policy and campaigns at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said:
“This change will have a hugely detrimental impact on thousands of disabled people, leaving many effectively trapped in their homes, unable to afford to go out.
“Many people in residential care already have their income capped at £22 a week once their care has been paid for and rely on this benefit to be more independent. This change will hit one of the most vulnerable groups in society and we urge the Government to reconsider.”
Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring said:
“Care homes and local authorities don’t cover these costs, and with budgets being squeezed, how can they be expected to in the future?
“We strongly urge the Government to reconsider the proposal. Removing this benefit will take us back to the dark ages, essentially stripping people of control over their lives and leaving them stuck in residential care homes.”
Sue Brown, head of public policy at Sense, the national deafblind charity, said:
“This change will impose further isolation on disabled people, including those with deafblindness, and will effectively cut many people off from their families and communities.”