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."



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions