Charity Concern that People Who have a Learning Disability will be Pushed Further into Poverty

ENABLE Scotland is calling on the UK Government to reconsider its plans on cutting benefits for people who have a learning disability.

ENABLE Scotland respond to the consultation on the draft assessment criteria for the new disability payment – personal independence payment.

The Government is planning to remove 20% of its spending on Disability Living Allowance when it is replaced with the new Personal Independence Payment.  This could mean that as many as 69,334 disabled people in Scotland lose their Disability Living Allowance (1).

New proposals (2), include:

It may be considered adequate not to offer people support to people unless they reach “a level of self neglect” in bathing, washing and grooming;

Someone may also be at risk of losing their disability benefits if they cannot claim to be at “overwhelming stress” when travelling on public transport;

Low priority given to being able to manage your own medication or health condition.

Mike Holmes, Executive Director for ENABLE Scotland said: “We are concerned that people who have learning disabilities will be pushed further into poverty and social isolation through these measures.  Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is about supporting people to meet the extra costs of living with a disability.  These costs have not reduced or gone away. 

The targeted saving of 20% of this budget appears arbitrary and we cannot see where it has come from.   The Government needs to give a commitment, in action not just words, to protect those in the greatest need.”

Notes to Editors

(1)  Figures from official Department for Work and Pensions statistics – (https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/articles/596.aspx).  In Scotland, 346,670 disabled people rely on the support of Disability Living Allowance to meet the additional cost of living with their disability.  69,334 is 20% of this figure.

(2)  Contained within the initial draft of assessment criteria for Personal Independence Payment – http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/legislation-and-key-documents/welfare-reform-bill-2011/personal-independence-payment-briefing/

ENABLE Scotland is Scotland’s leading charity for children and adults who have learning disabilities and their families and carers.

ENABLE Scotland campaigns for people who have learning disabilities to live full and independent lives.

ENABLE Scotland is a member-led organisation formed in 1954 by a group of families. Local ENABLE branches are made up of volunteers – mostly people who have a learning disability, their families and carers.

1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability. The most well known learning disability is Down’s Syndrome, although there are many others.

ENABLE Scotland provides services, information and advice to allow people who have a learning disability to live, work and take part in their communities – living the life they want.

Contact: Nikki Slowey
Phone: 09721657185
Email: nikki.slowey@enable.org.uk
Website: http://www.enable.org.uk