Jenny Willott MP writes… Protecting a lifeline – Lib Dem success in battle for DLA Mobility Component

With all the headlines and discussion this week about the Autumn Statement and public sector strikes, people would have been forgiven for missing an announcement from the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller MP, that proves once again the Lib Dem influence in Government, and fulfilling yet another Conference motion.

Maria Miller has today announced that the Government is dropping the proposals to remove the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from people in residential care homes.

The reversal answers the calls our Party made last Spring in Liverpool, where we passed a motion calling for the plan to be dropped. Since then, I and many other Lib Dem MPs have raised it with Ministers and worked alongside charities representing disabled people to make sure that these damaging proposals were never brought in.

I believe that this change again shows that the Lib Dems in Government are standing up for disabled people, working to make sure that we protect the most vulnerable people from the impact of the cuts. We can be proud that we have protected the 80,000 disabled people, including many disabled children, living in residential care homes that would otherwise have lost this vital lifeline.

This change also shows that making these changes does not happen over night. It was thanks to Lib Dem pressure that the proposals did not appear specifically in the Welfare Reform Bill when it was first published, but it is only by keeping up the pressure that this change is now not happening at all. It was only on Monday that Duncan Hames once again put pressure on Ministers to ditch the plan. We also shouldn’t forget that Steve Webb MP, the Pensions Minister and Lib Dem inside the Department for Work and Pensions, has also been working really hard championing this cause within the Department.

There are, of course, many other things we must continue to work on in the Welfare Reform Bill, including changes to Employment and Support Allowance, but this is a very welcome move.

This change will protect thousands of vulnerable people and for that, again, we can be proud to have Lib Dems in Government.

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12 Comments

  • Simon Bamonte 1st Dec '11 - 4:14pm

    This is welcome news! I do, however, feel rather uncomfortable with the language the Coalition has used regarding sick and disabled people over the past year and a half. I’m sure I cannot be the only one who feels uncomfortable with, for example, Cameron, who had a disabled son using the word “workshy” to describe disabled people. I think we as a party also need to focus on ATOS as many people have felt poorly treated and humiliated by them!

  • Anthony Harris 1st Dec '11 - 5:12pm

    Thanks Jenny,

    Its a shame these things get lost in the ether when theres so many other things going on. The Lib Dems need to I’m afraid are going to be wiped out because of teh Tories in the next election, because it seems apparent the languge they are using (Danny Alexander) is the same as the Tories and all your achievements will be wasted.

    A real shame.
    Anthony

  • Instead of MP’s grabbing all the credit, I would like to see acknowledgement where it is truly due, and that is with the grass roots and Liberal Youth, After all, it was George Potter who wrote the motion for conference.

    So well done George Potter, thank you for all your work and efforts and for championing the cause of the sick and disabled people, Thank you for providing a voice to those who sometimes are unable to shout and be heard for themselves.

    I hope you continue your work and support for the sick and disabled and help get the government to implement the reforms to the WCA that the Harrington Review suggested, as they accepted last year but have still failed to do so.

    Well done Liberal Youth and Well done George Potter

  • @ Matt- It’s a different conference motion. The DLA one was Spring Conference, you’re talking about the Liberal Youth one from Birmingham in September.

  • Good news, except that the £160 million will still be cut from somewhere else in the DWP budget.

    Any suggestions?

  • Oooops, well, I stand corrected, However, I still believe George Potter and the grass roots of the party deserve most of the praise, if it was left just to the MP’s, well the sentence doesn’t need finishing does it lol

  • Good news, well done.

  • Andrew Suffield 1st Dec '11 - 8:54pm

    if it was left just to the MP’s

    Then it would not be the Lib Dem party. You cannot have a liberal or democratic party based on top-down authoritarian control, in the style practised by Labour and the Tories. It doesn’t matter who you pick for the MPs, that simply would not work.

    I hope you continue your work and support for the sick and disabled and help get the government to implement the reforms to the WCA that the Harrington Review suggested, as they accepted last year but have still failed to do so.

    I am confident that this will occur. As you have seen with all the other cases where this has happened, it just takes ages. This is irritating, but expected. The UK government has always been painfully slow.

  • Richard Boyd 2nd Dec '11 - 8:08pm

    Interesting.

    Over the past 11 years that I led a county wide pan disability charity, I recall a string of LD MP’s who took
    on the disability portfolio and, after a year or two at most, moved on, Bit like the bad old days of the Labour
    Government when Disability Ministers came and went with alarming regularity.

    The DLA issue was one in which the LDs should have taken a national lead – well done for getting
    something done even if few will notice. BUT the whole disability issue is one ripe for a radical and
    pragmatic approach – not little snips as and when the ldda gets through to the parliamenttary system.

    We live in an ageing population where 3 out of 5 young people will, before they retire, be themselves
    disabled or caring for a loved one who is disabled. Disability should not be a “minority” issue bolted on
    with other “minority issues”. It should be as mainstream as ageing and young people’s issues crossing
    all sections of the communtiy and perceived, for the majority of society, as something they will face during
    the journey from birth to death,

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