Legal action threatened over disability cuts - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Legal action threatened over disability cuts

Campaigners for disabled people are considering legal action against the Government over proposed cuts to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), they said today.

Neil Coyle, director of policy at the Disability Alliance, said that the Government may be in breach of both domestic and European legislation if it fails to consider the impact on disabled people of plans to cut DLA expenditure by more than £2 billion.



The organisation has issued a 'letter of claim' to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the issue.



It said in a statement: "The letter is focused on whether the Department can demonstrate that the impact of proposals has been properly analysed by DWP and begins a formal process which may see DWP face full legal proceedings."



Mr Coyle told BBC News today: "We are giving formal notice that unless the concerns that disabled people have legitimately raised are addressed in the context of the Welfare Reform Bill, there is a strong legal case.



"Our legal advice ... is that the Government may be in breach of both domestic and European legislation if it fails to consider the impact on disabled people of the plans to cut £2.17 billion from DLA expenditure."



The Alliance said it was concerned that current plans would disproportionately disadvantage disabled people and their families, including proposals to abolish low rate care DLA support which is received by 652,000 people who have provided evidence of impairments or health conditions and are acknowledged as 'disabled' by DWP, and to end DLA mobility support for disabled care home residents, without clarity on how potential losses in support for the 78,000 people directly affected (and their families) would be mitigated.

Mr Coyle told the BBC: "We have spent the best part of the last year working with Government trying to ensure DWP in particular was aware of the concerns of disabled people.



"All of that year's worth of work and the formal consultation that the Government opened in December and closed in February has led to no change in the plans, and no real address to the issues that we have put forward, and the potential impact on thousands of disabled people and their families."



Asked if they were "jumping the gun", as the consultation process was going on, he said: "I think it's really important to clarify that the Government's consultation on DLA closed in February, so five and a half thousand disabled organisations and disabled people responded and it didn't change Government policy, in fact the Government already put legislation in Parliament that would do exactly what it wanted."



Mr Coyle said that for more than half of the disabled people who use DLA to support them in work, they say they would have to give up work if they lose their DLA.

"For many disabled people, it helps to pay for an adapted vehicle, so if you can't afford to run a vehicle, and that's what you're using DLA for, there's a strong chance you won't be able to continue in work.



"One in seven disabled people have been telling us that without DLA they won't be able to manage their health condition or impairment, and they're more likely to have hospitalised periods, which cost far more to the taxpayer than paying, for example, £19.55 a week, which is the bit of the DLA expenditure the Government is targeting for ending."



The Alliance believes that DWP may have failed to pay due regard to the disability equality duty which follows the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, or responsibilities arising under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.





A DWP spokeswoman said: "We are following the usual processes and are working with disability organisations on DLA reforms, including with the design of the assessment.

"It is premature to talk about a judicial review as the regulations do not go through until 2012."



Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Project Manager (upgrades, rollouts, migrations)

£350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...

IT Administrator - Graduate

£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

Year 3/4 Teacher

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Year 3/4 Teacher - Daily Suppl...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week