3.1 Carers UK is surprised and disappointed at the lack of adequate assessment of the impact of the PIP proposals on carers:
· There was no mention of carers in the initial Impact Assessment of the DLA reforms, published with the Bill; or in the Equality Impact Assessments published during the Committee stage. The Government’s response to the DLA reform consultation, published in April, simply states that the Government is considering the implications for Carer’s Allowance of DLA reform.
· This lack of upfront information not only makes adequate scrutiny of the proposals impossible – but it is also causing a huge amount of distress for families, including those affected by the most severe disability and terminal illness, who fear the loss of their disability and carers’ benefits because they do not know if they may be affected.
· Given that 73% of current Carer’s Allowance claimants are women, it is also concerning that the potential loss of independent income for a group predominantly made up of women was not a key part of the gender impact assessment for the Bill.
3.2 We believe that it is critical that a full evaluation of the impact on carers is conducted as a matter of urgency. This must include an estimate of the number of carers expected to lose Carer’s Allowance, a disability impact assessment and a carer equality impact assessment which looks at the impact on gender equality of the likely loss of Carer’s Allowance .