Well over 100,000 to lose Motability vehicles under draconian new rules

Man on crutches

For resources to lobby your MP, see

For a video demonstration of how this will affect me, see

When I blogged on this topic back in January 2012, I predicted thousands of disabled people would lose their Motability vehicles under the Government’s draft criteria for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), set to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) under the Welfare Reform Act. Yesterday, the Government published the final version of the criteria and the reality is far, far worse than we could have imagined.

Many consultation responses on the draft criteria complained that the descriptors for Activity 12 (Activity 11 in the draft), addressing physical difficulties in moving around, were unclear and confusing. We hoped they would be clarified; in particular, we expected clarification that being unable to walk more than 50 metres would qualify claimants for the enhanced mobility component and the Motability scheme. But we’re stunned by the decision that to qualify for Motability, a claimant needs to be unable to walk more than 20 metres – a far shorter distance*. Continue reading

On International Day of Disabled People this year, I’m ashamed to be British

Poor woman using crutch to climb stairsToday, 3rd December, is International Day of Disabled People, a day on which we should celebrate our progress in achieving human rights and equality for disabled people. But this year there is little to celebrate, as we anticipate the implementation of a horrifying range of policies set to devastate the lives of hundreds of thousands of disabled Britons.

Most disabled people rely on benefits of one sort or another – to help meet the additional costs of disability and because many disabled and sick people are unable to do much, or any, paid work. So most disabled people will be badly affected by welfare ‘reform’ as the Government seeks to reduce the benefits bill. Continue reading

The Pressure Mounts…

Disabled woman looking out of the windowThe one word that describes how I feel right now is pressure. Partly, pressure on me to deliver various types of work, both small pieces of work and more significant projects but, more significantly, the pressure of knowing how many are suffering and how little our Government and most of our politicians, across all parties, actually appear to care. And alongside pressure, my feeling about what is happening to our country is moving close to despair.

So I could barely bring myself to listen to David Cameron’s speech today. What I read about it on Twitter told me all I needed to know, anyway – a Prime Minister using personal, emotive anecdotes to give a totally hypocritical, even mendacious impression of his Government’s priorities. It feels wrong to criticise when he uses the example of the death of his disabled son Ivan, but this blogpost: written in March makes the case much better, and probably more sensitively, than I can. Interestingly and concerningly, when I talk to my MP about the suffering being caused by Government policies I realise how powerless he is to make any difference to his own Government’s actions. Continue reading

Political promises – worth the paper they’re written on?

Along with other commentators, an article in today’s Guardian by my own Tory MP, Zac Goldsmith ( set me thinking. In his article, Zac makes the comment:

political promises need to mean something

In my own comment on the article, I point out to Zac and his colleagues that if you value your integrity, you can’t demand that some promises are kept while supporting policies that clearly break other promises. Continue reading

Nothing for Something

A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay… but not if you’re disabled. Why not? It’s all about transport.

The new report from the WeAreSpartacus community, Reversing from Recovery, is set to upset the motor industry and cause ripples throughout our fragile economy, as it explores the potentially devastating effect of the Government’s proposals for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) under the Welfare Reform Act. Continue reading

Together we Shout!

The ‘We are Spartacus’ Community Submission to the Government Consultation on Assessments for Personal Independence Payments

The culmination of forum discussions, facebook help-a-thons, website comments and the Spartacus PIP survey is an evidence-based, high quality, forensically detailed response to the consultation on the proposed assessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The document, which includes a foreword by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, was submitted to the DWP yesterday afternoon. The WeareSpartacus community has published it so all those who are concerned about the Government’s proposals can use it to fight for a benefit that works for disabled and sick people.

The document includes a huge number of recommendations, some major and overarching and some detailed and technical. It’s hard to identify our ‘key’ recommendations, but here’s a taste:

  • The addition of a new activity based on the need for general supervision
  • That the activity of bathing incorporate the cleaning of the entire body, including limbs and extremities
  • That significant changes should be made to recognise the difficulty and expense surrounding the management of incontinence
  • That the difficulties associated with being unable to handle paperwork and write be taken into account in relation to communication and managing finances
  • That points awarded take account of the high cost of some aids and appliances such as voice synthesisers
  • That the benchmark for considering wheelchair use be increased from 50m to 200m
  • That more account be taken of the need for walking aids (other than wheelchairs), especially those that need both hands to be used
  • That, in addition to asking whether the claimant can undertake an activity safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely fashion, the assessment should also ask what the claimant can do without severe discomfort.
  • That the Government ‘take every regulatory, contractual and advisory opportunity to ensure that problems reported with the WCA… do not occur in the PIP assessment’.

For details of all the recommendations, take a look at the document!

In the response, the WeareSpartacus community also urged the Government to give careful consideration to some overarching issues we’re all concerned about – for example, the danger that the introduction of PIP will seriously compromise disabled people’s independence and will increase costs for other public services such as the NHS and local councils.

Is the tide starting to turn?

I get the feeling that the tide may be starting to turn in relation to welfare reform. This is just a gut feeling, nothing more, but I have some evidence – not that the Government is starting to  listen, yet, but that other organisations and individuals are finding their voice and that the media is starting to listen. Continue reading