Thursday, 12 January 2012

Asking my MP to ask the Minister for Disabled People two questions

With the very timely and helpful checking and editing of @Ti_theleis, @narco_sam, and @allbigideas from the Twitters.

Dear Ms Ruddock,

I am extremely alarmed about by the government's stated intentions of pushing the Welfare Reform Bill through with complete disregard for the evidence which shows that it will be to the severe detriment to the "most vulnerable" people they purport to care about. Again I apologise for emailing you so frequently - if you have a method of contact you would find more convenient, please let me know.

Given that the Responsible Reform report proves that the Minister for Disabled People has completely overridden disabled people's voices on DLA reform, and used misleading figures in Parliament to gain support for the reform. (See point 6 in Responsible Reform), there are two questions to which I think we are entitled to know the answers:

1) Did Maria Miller knowingly choose to use inappropriate and misleading statistics to support the plans for DLA reform, even though this is a breach of Ministerial Code?

I am asking this based on the following statement made by Maria Miller:

"The importance of personal independence payment means that spending must remain sustainable for the future. Currently 3.2 million people receive DLA, an increase of around 30% in the past eight years. The announced budget for working-age spend by 2015-16 will bring that expenditure back to 2009-10 levels." (Taken from Hansard, She uses the same figure on the 28th of March, and the 23rd of March, too)

This 30% figure refers to the entire adult DLA caseload, which includes people over retirement age, but PIP is not going to include people over retirement age, meaning this is an inappropriately high figure to use. Maria Miller should have been aware that this was an inappropriate statistic given that she is the Minister for Disabled People, and as stated in point 6 of the Executive Summary from the Responsible Reform report:

" 6. We find that the evidence does not support a 30% rise in DLA claims relevant to PIP as claimed by the Government
throughout their consultation and Impact Assessments. The figure is actually 13%. These figures were not
made clear to parliamentarians as they debated the bill, despite a Government report being signed off in May
2010. Government are still using the 30% figure despite admitting that it gives a “distorted view” " ( )

My second question is also to the Minister for Disabled People:

2) When you state that DLA isn't reaching the "most vulnerable" in society, and that you want to protect the "most vulnerable", could you please define whom you mean by "most vulnerable?"

My reason for asking this is that "most vulnerable" is a relative term, and I know people with complex and profound impairments who, having looked at (or having carers look at) the proposals for PIP are concerned that they are not covered by this vague (and I suspect speciously employed) statement "most vulnerable". Given the aim is to reduce the DLA caseload costs by 20%, and fraud rates for DLA are 0.5%, it is clear to me that people that who are disabled and do need support will lose that support.

Yours sincerely,


My address

No comments: