The Mayor of London: Boris Johnson has said that the welfare reform bill 2011; which has yet to come into effect, is going to ruin the lives of people who have disabilities. The Government is set to reduce DLA claimants by up-to £70 a week. Johnson is very concerned that this action will place vulnerable people with chronic illness and mental and physical disabilities into a state of financial hardship and in some cases complete poverty.
The Mayor says;
“While some reform is necessary; the government may fail to ensure that the needs of disabled people are adequately met. The changes could potentially condemn parents of disabled children, young people; and the children themselves into a life of financial hardship, without proper financial assistance”.
The Government, it seems, is set to change DLA into a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This new benefit is to only be paid to people who are deemed ‘most in need’ of the benefit. The changes to DLA would help cut government spending of this benefit by 20% by the years 2015/16. DLA is currently paid to approximately 3.2 million people in Britain. Campaigners say that DLA is vital to enable disabled people to work; as the benefit pays for mobility, travel costs and other special requirements they may need in everyday life.
The Mayor of London objects to these changes and these opinions are shared by an overwhelming majority of respondents to the Welfare Reform Bill. Campaigners have urged the House of Lords that it is not too late to stop it being passed, in exchange for a more stable solution to combat the current benefits crisis.
The Chief executive of the charity Mind, Paul Farmer has said,
“Rather than getting out of control as the government claims; DLA has been increasingly going to people who really need it”.
What does Dancing Giraffe say? To put it bluntly, a 20% cut to the benefits budget will have an enormous negative impact on the disabled community. This is a sector that can’t afford it so a more radical plan is required to avoid many disabled people from being plunged into financial hardship.