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  • #74177
    Go Boris!

    I can’t quite believe I’m reading this (I think I may have fainted), but…

    Boris Johnson attacks planned cuts to disability payments
    Mayor of London says Disability Living Allowance proposals could push disadvantaged group into deeper poverty

    The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has placed himself at loggerheads with the government over benefit changes after he formally objected to controversial cuts to disability payments.

    Johnson’s response to a consultation on changes to the Disability Living Allowance is critical of planned changes that will see hundreds of thousands of disabled people potentially lose benefits of up to £70 a week for care and mobility expenses.

    Johnson is concerned that the changes could lead to financial hardship and social isolation, and push an already disadvantaged group into deeper poverty.

    His submission states: “While some reform may be necessary … the mayor is concerned that, if the focus of this reform is solely efficiency driven, government may fail to ensure that the needs of disabled people are adequately met.”

    It adds that the changes could “potentially condemn the parents of disabled children and young people, and the children themselves, to a life of financial hardship rather than financial assistance”.

    His objections– which were submitted early last year but only came to light after disability activists requested to see all responses under the Freedom of Information Act – will increase pressure on the government before key debates on the welfare reform bill in the Lords over the next two weeks.

    Up until now, Tory MPs and peers have, with one or two exceptions, held the line on welfare reform, and Johnson’s apparent intervention could be seen as significant.

    The government proposes to replace the Disability Living Allowance with a so-called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This would focus payments on claimants deemed to be most in need as a way of reducing spending on this benefit by 20% by 2015-16.

    The Disability Living Allowance is paid to around 3.2 million people, including children, with a wide range of illnesses and disabilities including cancer, spinal injury, mental health problems and learning disability. Campaigners say the payments are vital to enable disabled people to work.

    The benefit is typically used to pay for equipment and mobility aids, travel costs and expenses related to specific medical conditions such as special diets.

    Johnson’s submission also makes it clear that he objects to the government’s proposal to cut benefit to people currently receiving lower-end DLA payments of around £20 a week.

    It states: “The mayor does not support this change, as those on the lower rate component … may lose their access to this benefit.”

    The mayor’s objections were uncovered by a network of disability activists and bloggers, including Sue Marsh and Kaliya Franklin, loosely based around the Diary of a Benefit Scrounger and Broken of Britain blogs.

    Their report analysing the proposed changes to the Disability Living Allowance, to be published on Monday, finds that Johnson’s objections are shared by the “overwhelming majority” of respondents to the consultation.

    The report claims the government has misrepresented the level of opposition in its formal response to the consultation, and has consistently used inaccurate figures to exaggerate the rise in claimants.

    Marsh said: “We believe that reform must be measured, responsible and transparent, based on available evidence and designed with disabled people at the very heart of decision-making. Currently, we do not believe this to be the case.

    “While disabled people welcome reform of DLA where it will simplify the system and better support their needs, they do not want a new benefit. They believe it is a costly irrelevance during a time of austerity.

    “We urge members of the House of Lords, across party political boundaries, to take note of this research and the strength of opposition to the proposals. It is not too late for them to halt these deeply damaging reforms.”

    Paul Farmer, the chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: “Rather than getting out of control as the government claims, DLA has been increasingly going to people who really need it.

    “The proposed 20% cut to the budget will have an enormous impact.”

    A spokesperson for Johnson said: “The mayor has made his views known in a thoughtful and comprehensive submission to the government. His focus is always to ensure that vulnerable Londoners are protected in any fiscal and legislative change.”

    Happy New Year, everybody!

    Posts: 564
    Joined: 24/01/2011
    Re: Go Boris!

    I have just come across this news and I am pleased that Boris is not afraid to speak up and go against his own party’s stance. He seems to be the only one who does – refreshing!

    A learning experience is one of those things that say, “You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.” - Douglas Adams

    sar78 sar78
    Posts: 2,246
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    Re: Go Boris!

    Go Boris! Go Boris! Go Boris! Go Boris! Go Boris!

    I'm always the animal, my body's the cage

    I blog about nothingness

    Posts: 4,751
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    Re: Go Boris!

    Here is saintly Boris’s full Mayoral Submission.

    Closer inspection shows that Boris supports virtually all the things that
    MD people are worried about. Fluctuating and variable conditions, automatic entitlement, effect
    on carer entitlement, face to face interviews, loss of third rate, qualification period,
    aids and adaptations, reviews for permanent untreatable conditions and most of all
    he strongly says :-

    “The Mayor is opposed to using independent healthcare professionals to provide advice on an‘individual’s condition’. Supporting evidence should only be sought from healthcareprofessionals who are familiar with the individual, for example their GP or Consultant. They willbe familiar with the claimant’s case, the barriers they face and will be much more aware of their particular circumstances.”

    Well said Boris.

    But by the very fact that Boris needs to plead for these things does confirm our worst
    feasrs that they are all being lost in the DLA to PIP transfer.

    It seems all our apples are in the Boris handcart then.

    Let us hope his own party will not try to sideline his views by portaying
    him as a doddering fool.

    "Even if you are not paranoid, it does not mean they are not out to get you!".

    Posts: 4,630
    Joined: 27/09/2010
    Re: Go Boris!

    @taungfox wrote:

    Let us hope his own party will not try to sideline his views by portaying
    him as a doddering fool.

    I don’t think they can quite do that, as they don’t want him to lose the London mayoral election to good old Red Ken, who’s always been one of the Tories’ worst nightmares. My guess, though, is that these views, like all the views criticising the proposed “reforms” (and these in fact constitute the vast majority of responses to the “consultation”), will be quietly ignored, with the implicit collusion of the Tory media. Consultation, pah!

    I’m still having trouble with the concept of finding myself on the same side as Boris in anything. It makes my head feel spinny.

    Posts: 564
    Joined: 24/01/2011
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