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Green Paper failure to address inadequacy of financial support “shocking and unacceptable” says DPO Forum England

30 September 2021

DPO Forum England has submitted its response to the DWP’s Health and Disability Green Paper.

DPO Forum England – represents 21 of the country’s leading DPOs and was set up after then Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson shut down his own advisory forum of Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs).

Members of the new forum include Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, the Reclaiming Our Futures AllianceInclusion LondonThe Alliance for Inclusive EducationEqual Lives, Disability Positive in Cheshire, Disability Sheffield, and National Survivor User Network.

DR UK is a member of DPO Forum England and contributed to and fully supports its Green Paper submission.

In its response, the Forum says that it is “shocking and unacceptable” that the Green Paper “completely fails to address the inadequacy of the financial support available to disabled people who face multiple and complex barriers to employment”.

It also says that the Green Paper’s repeated references to “affordability” and rising spending on disability benefits is a “major concern”, while its suggestion of a possible merger of PIP and Universal Credit is “unacceptable”.

In addition, it says that the Green Paper’s “framework of austerity” is “entirely at odds” with the results of the Government survey used to inform its disability strategy, which found that only four per cent of disabled people agreed or strongly agreed that disabled people have enough financial support to meet their needs.

The response also says that the Green Paper is not based in “reality”, partly because it has failed to apologise to disabled people “for subjecting them to a hostile environment” which has caused “many deaths, large scale poverty, exclusion, and human rights abuses that have been examined in detail and condemned by the United Nations”.

Any reform must ensure that the “harmful practises and culture of the institutions administering benefits are changed to be supportive and constructive”, it says.

The DPO Forum England response also stresses the important of independent advocacy for disabled benefit claimants, which it says would best be provided by local DPOs.

And it raises concerns about the Access to Work scheme, the Disability Confident disability employment scheme, and the “20-metre rule” that prevents many disabled people accessing the PIP enhanced mobility rate, and it calls for the removal of all sanctions from the social security system.

It also contrasts the UK Government’s approach to reform with that of the Scottish Government, which “has been framed to alleviate Disabled people’s stress and anxiety and a lack of trust in the disability benefits system”.

The DPO Forum England consultation response to Shaping future support: the health and disability Green Paper is available from gmdisabledpeoplespanel.com.

Source: DPOs tells new minister: ‘Disability poverty failure is shocking and unacceptable’ available from disabilitynewsservice.com.