Government's 'overlap of public funds' is a myth says charity report
Wednesday 12 January 2011
The government's argument that the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) mobility component is an ‘overlap of public funds' is wrong, according to a report ‘Don't limit mobility', submitted to MPs today from a group of 27 organisations representing people with a disability[i].
The Comprehensive Spending Review announced the government's proposal to remove the mobility component of DLA for people who live in residential care. This will impact an estimated 80,000 people. Today's report has gathered evidence from both service providers and residents of care homes who will be affected by the change[ii].
Despite the government's argument that the removal of the DLA mobility component will ‘remove an overlap of public funds', none of the national service providers that were surveyed for the report currently receive a contribution from local authorities towards the cost of personal mobility costs. The mobility component of DLA provides support to people who need help getting around and helps them to leave their home independently and participate in everyday activities that many people take for granted, such as meeting friends or attending a leisure centre.
A further survey of residential care home users revealed that over 50% gave either the majority or their entire DLA mobility component to their care home[iii]. Of these, 40% said that it paid for a motability car and 21% said the money paid for petrol for staff to take them out. One respondent urged the government to listen to the people that will be most affected by the cut to DLA, saying: "I would ask you to come and see us and see what it is like to live the life we have. Then see how it feels to have your independence taken away and not have any social interaction."
Mark Goldring, Mencap's chief executive, said: "This report shows that the government's reason for cutting this funding is simply wrong. Care homes and local authorities don't cover these costs, and with budgets being squeezed, how can they be expected to in the future? We strongly urge the government to reconsider the proposal to remove the mobility component of DLA. This money helps people living in residential care get the personal support they need to get out and take part in activities they enjoy and live a fulfilled life. Removing this benefit will take us back to the dark ages, essentially stripping people of control over their lives and leaving them stuck in residential care homes."
The report ‘Don't limit mobility' can be downloaded from www.mencap.org.uk/dla
For further information please contact Jenny Brannan on 0207 696 6017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
[i] The 27 organisations that submitted the report are Carers UK, Counsel and Care, Disability Alliance, Down's Syndrome Association, English Community Care Association (ECCA), Every Disabled Child Matters, Huntington's Disease Association, Learning Disability Coalition, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Mencap, Mind, MS Society, National Autistic Society, National Centre for Independent Living, Parkinson's UK, PMLD network, Radar, Rethink, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Scope, Sense, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), The Stroke Association, Turning Point, United Response, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group.
[ii] A survey was taken of national service providers who are members of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), the leading umbrella group of voluntary sector providers of social care services for adults with disabilities. VODG members that contributed towards the survey were:
Affinity Trust, Brandon Trust, Certitude, The Disabilities Trust, Elizabeth FitzRoy Support, Hft, MacIntyre, Martha Trust, mcch, Mencap, Norwood, Outlook Care, Queen Elizabeth's, Foundation for Disabled People, The National Autistic Society RCHL, RNID, Scope, SeeAbility, Sense, SignHealth, St. Elizabeth's Centre, Walsingham.
These organisations are responsible for over 600 care homes in the UK.
[iii] The online survey was hosted by Mencap, Scope and Leonard Cheshire Disability. Launched in November there have been over 100 responses to the survey to date. The survey remains open.