Saturday, March 12, 2011

F4 on Disability Living Allowance - Mobility Component

F4 on Disability Living Allowance - Mobility Component.

This debate showed both how fast things were moving under the coalition and how much Liberal Democrats were influencing policy. Mover Mike Ward explained that the Conservatives had originally feared double payments and therefore made the cut to which this motion objected. But it was extremely rare for a local authority to include a mobility allowance as part of their care package. Pressure meant that the mobility component of Personal Independence Payments will not now be cut. Mike paid credit to disability organisations. But PIPs still assume that there are overlaps which need to be eliminated. There was a need to make clear that this assumption was unacceptable. He accepted the amendment and trusted that the motion would Influence the final outcome.

The amendment was moved by ex-LibDem AM Mike German, now Baron German. He was co-chair (with Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott) of one of the policy committees set up as a result of the coalition agreement. These also include a MEP and a member of the Federal Policy Committee. Mike’s committee of Liberal Democrats had put this unfair policy back in its box, but it was necessary to keep up the pressure.

Bob Barton of Clwyd West, an old friend from WLD conferences, thought that the phrase “or other otherwise fund the mobility needs” in lines 21-22 was too woolly.

Robert Adamson of Thirsk and Malton, himself a wheelchair user, said that his fellows should not have to bear more than their fair share of the pain. “After all, we’re disabled, not bankers,” he explained.

The motion as amended was easily carried.

The text of the amended motion:

Conference regrets the recent decision to remove the mobility component of the new Personal
Independence Payment (replacing Disability Living Allowance) from people in residential care and
from children in residential schools with effect from October 2012.
Conference notes that:
a) The impact of this decision is that approximately 80,000 people are at risk of losing this
support and that many of these people will be prevented from enjoying the freedom of
movement that is taken for granted by people who are not disabled.
b) The impact of the withdrawal of this benefit will be particularly severe for adults who depend
on the Personal Expenses Allowance of £22.30 per week because all their income is taken
to pay for their care and that as the PEA has to cover all personal spending including clothes,
toiletries and mobile phones, there is normally no spare money to pay for transport.
c) The outcome of the cut for adults is not in accord with the principle of fairness because it
affects the poorest recipients and allows those people who pay for their own care to retain
the Mobility Component.
d) Children in residential schools may be unable to engage with the wider community or
experience the same opportunities to develop independence and life skills as their nondisabled
peers and may be prevented from enjoying family visits.
e) These changes may amount to a breach of the UK’s obligations under Human Rights
Conventions.
Conference therefore:
1. Calls on the Coalition Government to reinstate the Mobility Component or otherwise fund the
mobility needs of those who cannot afford to do so themselves.
2. Reminds the Coalition Government of its obligations under Human Rights Conventions
namely Article 20 (Personal Mobility) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 31.

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