Miller savaged over cuts to disability benefits

 

Furious politicians and disability campaigners have attacked the minister for disabled people after she tried to justify the latest round of government cuts to disability benefits.

Activists, and MPs and peers from more than 10 disability-related all party parliamentary groups – including those on disability, learning disability and autism – were particularly angry about government plans to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) from council-funded residents of care homes.

Disability News Service » Miller savaged over cuts to disability benefits

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2 Responses to “Miller savaged over cuts to disability benefits”

  1. malka Says:

    This is good news we mustn’t let maria miller have an easy passage, she is a shambolic minister, and representing the most vulnerable people in society is a joke………..she has no compassion or understanding of the real world for disabled people an like her fellow ministers she is out of touch.

  2. bbgbosham Says:

    Cuts would “trap” disabled Rustington residents in their homes, minister told
    By Amanda Barrell – Littlehampton Gazette
    Published on Thu Jan 27 10:49:28 GMT 2011

    THE GOVERNMENT’S minister for disabled people was given a blunt message by campaigners she met in Rustington, who warned that cutting disability benefits would be the “final nail in the coffin for independence”.

    Maria Miller MP visited St Bridget’s Home, where residents have been campaigning against proposals to axe part of a benefit paid to people living in residential homes which goes towards their travel costs.

    The allowance, residents said, was used to pay for day-to-day expenses, such as purchasing and maintaining a powered wheelchair, getting to and from the shops, and visiting friends and family, and without it they would be “trapped in their homes”.

    St Bridget’s resident Tim Williamson said after Tuesday’s meeting: “This is all about independence, it’s about the freedom to get out and about.

    “It’s about the things that anyone else would take for granted, such as meeting a friend in town, or popping down to Sainsbury’s to get a pint of milk.

    “If this goes ahead it will be the final nail in the coffin for the independence of most of us.”

    Julie Stainton, campaigns co-ordinator at Leonard Cheshire Disability, which runs St Bridget’s, explained why the mobility element of disability living allowance (DLA) was vital.

    “If people are state-funded in residential care, all the income they have is put to the local authority to pay for that care.

    “They are given just £22 a week that is their own money, to spend on the things they need, like food, toiletries and clothes.”

    Tim added that even using the home’s subsidised minibus service to get to Arundel, for example, would cost £7.50, and that would have to come out of the £22.

    Jim Bates has lived at St Bridget’s for more than 28 years. He does not have the use of his legs, but as he can use his arms, is entitled only to a manual wheelchair from the NHS, and so used his allowance to save to buy an electric chair.

    “Without it, I would not even be able to get into the village,” he said, explaining that replacement batteries alone cost £138 a pair, money he would find it impossible to save on his £22 a week income.

    The ministerial visit was arranged by MP for Worthing West, Sir Peter Bottomley, who supports the campaigners.

    Resident Katy Montgomery said: “She made me feel that she was actually listening to what we had to say.

    “Maybe she will go back to London and tell them what we have said.”

    Jim would not go as far as being “optimistic”, but was “hopeful” after speaking to the minister. “I think she went away better informed, she has been told by people who know what the impact will be, and has seen that for herself.”

    The Gazette made several requests for an interview on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but the minister was “not available”.

    She said in a statement: “I really enjoyed meeting the residents and staff at St Bridget’s, I know that some people are worried about how changes to DLA might affect them so it’s been really useful for me to talk to them about that.”

    She added that the government was “totally committed to protecting DLA for the future”.

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