08 August 2009

Benefits Threats

A friend has just sent me the link to the Benefits and Work website and a information about disability living allowance cuts and as this affects lots of parents with children with special needs I thought it was worth spreading the word here so more people can contribute to the consultation.

The Shaping the Future of Care Green Paper published by the DWP and the Department of Health on 14th July sets out government plans to get rid of attendance allowance and, depending on public reaction, also leaves the way clear to end the care component of DLA. The consultation period for the green paper ends on 13th November and if there has been no significant outcry against the plans by then, it is possible that whichever party is in power after the next election will take the opportunity to cut public spending by over a billion pounds a year. Unfortunately, only a few agencies are speaking out in spite of the fact that a report in November 2008 by the Institute for Social and Economic Research warned that taking DLA and AA from claimants and making it part of a ‘personal budget’ administered by social services will leave millions of disabled people worse off and with less independence.

The lack of protest is caused at least in part by ministers deliberately choosing ambiguous terms for their plans. The green paper refers only to cutting ‘disability benefits, for example Attendance Allowance’. Benefits and Work state that some organisations with predominantly younger members believe that because DLA isn’t specifically named, it isn’t going to be cut but they believe the reality is that if the government was intending to axe only AA it would have said so clearly, instead of deliberately and repeatedly using the term ‘disability benefits’ to cause uncertainty and confusion.

Benefits and Work have launched their own campaign to save these benefits and are looking for one thousand people to sign up for our No More Benefits Cuts campaign. All you need to do is provide them with your email address and first name and be prepared to give up a few minutes of your time once a week to send an email or post on a forum. So, if you think that DLA and AA are benefits worth fighting for, then please join their campaign. You don’t need to be a claimant – you might be a carer or support worker, for example – and you don’t need to be a subscribing member of Benefits and Work. You also don’t have to send any emails if you choose not to and you can remove yourself from the list at any time you wish (and they promise to never pass your details on to anyone else under any circumstances).

There is a summary of the proposals and the National Autistic Society's statement here so if you have a child with autism - please also contact them and give them your feedback.

Please share your opinions and add a link to any other organisations that have asked for feedback - get your voices heard.

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