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DBC PIP mobility Cameron - Clegg letter

Disability Benefits Consortium letter to Rt Hon David Cameron MP and Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP concerning PIP mobility 20 metre rule

Rt Hon David Cameron MP

Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

Houses of Parliament

London

SW1A 0AA

5th August 2013

Dear Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister,

We strongly believe that the new 20 metre rule to qualify for the highest rate of the new benefit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), will leave many of those with the greatest needs without vital support and trapped in their own homes. This is despite the government’s stated intention that the support provided by the benefit should be targeted at “those who need it most”. We believe that the policy will lead to disabled people dropping out of work and education, increased poverty and isolation, and increased costs in other areas of government spending.

The 20 metre rule is replacing the qualifying distance of 50 metres used to assess people for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). It means that if disabled people can walk more than just 20 metres – even using aids such as sticks – they will no longer qualify for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP. This is less than the length of two buses. Those that no longer qualify will lose at least £33.25 a week or, crucially, access to their Motability vehicle.

The government’s own projections show that nearly half a million disabled people will lose out because of the tightened rules.

Many of the organisations signing up to this letter have been overwhelmed with the response from disabled people contacting them about the new rule, most of whom are fearful about the impact this policy will have on their daily lives. In particular, those who work or are in education, and those who are

worried about how they will attend doctor or hospital appointments or, indeed, leave their house at all. The mobility needs of these people will not disappear, but are likely to be pushed to other areas of (potentially more expensive) government spending, such as unemployment benefits, the Access to Work Scheme, social care and the NHS.

No evidence has been provided as to why the distance of 20 metres is now being used as a way of gauging the additional costs individuals face. Indeed, the rule is inconsistent with well-embedded and researched government guidance which suggests that 50 metres is a more appropriate measure of significant mobility impairment.

The use of the 20 metre rule is flawed. In evidence gathered by organisations representing disabled people, many of those that can mobilise for more than 20 metres (but less than 50 metres) face the same ‘extra costs’ as those that can only mobilise up to this distance. No longer qualifying for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP will have a devastating impact on their lives.

We call on you to reinstate the use of a 50 metre qualifying distance for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP.

Yours Sincerely,

10,368 disabled individuals, their carers and those who are concernedabout the impact of the 20 metre ruleThe Disability Benefits Consortium

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is a national coalition of over 50 different charities and other organisations committed to working towards a fair benefits system. Members include:

  • Action for Blind People
  • Action for M.E.
  • Action on hearing loss
  • Age UK
  • Ambitious about Autism
  • Arthritis Care
  • Breast Cancer Care
  • British Lung Foundation
  • Carers UK
  • Child Poverty Action Group
  • Citizens Advice
  • CLIC Sargent
  • Contact a Family
  • Crohn’s and Colitis UK (NACC)
  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust
  • Deafblind UK
  • Disability Rights UK
  • Drugscope
  • Every Disabled Child Matters
  • Guide Dogs
  • Haemophilia Society
  • Hafal (mental health charity in Wales)
  • Inclusion London
  • LASA
  • Learning Disability Coalition
  • Leonard Cheshire Disability
  • Livability
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Mencap
  • Meningitis Research Foundation
  • Mind
  • Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association
  • MS Society
  • Muscular Dystrophy Campaign
  • National AIDS Trust
  • National Autistic Society (NAS)
  • National Deaf Children’s Society
  • National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
  • National Union of Students
  • Papworth Trust
  • Parkinson’s UK
  • Rethink Mental Illness
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
  • RSI Action
  • Scope
  • Scottish Association for Mental Health
  • Sense
  • The Stroke Association
  • Sue Ryder
  • Transport for All
  • Trade Union Congress (TUC)
  • United Response
  • Vitalise
  • Welsh Association of ME & CFS Support (WAMES)

Healthcare organisations, including:

  • The Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • The British Academy of Childhood Disability (BACD)
  • Neurological Commissioning Support (NCS)
  • United Kingdom Multiple Sclerosis Specialist Nurses Association (UKMSSNA)
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)

President of the National Union of Students (NUS)

Local authorities, including:

  • Plymouth City Council
  • Kirklees Council
  • Swale Borough Council
  • Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
  • Leader of Broxtowe Borough Council
  • Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council
  • Executive Member for Social Care & Housing and Equality for
  • Torfaen County Borough Council
  • Director of Health, Wellbeing and Care for Telford & Wrekin Council
  • Leader of St. Helens Council
  • Acting Chief Executive of Falkirk Council
  • Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets
  • Councillor Tracy Harvey on behalf of the Executive of Middlesbrough Council

10 members of the government’s formal engagement group on PIP - the‘Implementation Stakeholder Forum’ (in addition to those that arealready part of the DBC), including:

  • Frontline Debt Advice
  • Learning Disability Wales
  • Scottish Council on Deafness
  • Disability Action Islington
  • Limbless Association
  • Equal Lives
  • Disability Wales
  • Enfield Disability Action
  • Spinal Injuries Association
  • Assist UK
  • Blue Ribbon for the Awareness of M.E (BRAME)

Organisations in the nations, including:

  • Inclusion Scotland
  • Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
  • Capability Scotland
  • Disability Action Northern Ireland
  • Stroke Association Scotland
  • Fife Headway
  • MS Therapy Centre Lothian
  • Celebrity support, including:
  • Jane Asher
  • Janis Winehouse
  • Wayne Dobson
  • Simon Donald
  • Junior Giscombe
  • Simon Laurens
  • Laurence and Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen
  • Beccy Huxtable

Other organisations, including:

  • The National Network of Parent Carer Forums
  • Headway, the Brain Injury Association