Is there no end to the cruel Tory cuts that affect the most vulnerable on our society? One of their latest cuts sees tens of thousands of disabled people in the UK having their specialised cars and scoters taken away from them, at a rate of around 900 a week. Not only are people losing their independence to get around, but the PIP retraction is seeing thousands losing their jobs as a consequence.
UK charity Muscular Dystrophy conducted a survey that revealed that many affected by the change are being subject to short-notice cancellations which is leading to financial hardship and unnecessary use of credit cars, and in some cases, people are having to attend face-to-face assessments for disability benefits at centres that aren’t accessible for disabled people.
So what actually is the change?
The DLA (Disability Living Allowance) is slowly being changed into a new system that was introduced in 2013 called the PIP (Personal Independence Payment.) As people being transferred to the new system, their motability benefit - which enables disabled people to lease a specialised vehicle as part of their entitlement - is being taken away from them. The DWP has said that only a small fraction of people are being removed from this scheme, however the figures show different, with 45% of all renewal cases since 2013 being denied.
The big change in the deciding factor is the length of stance that a claimant can walked unaided. This number has changed from 50 metres under DLA regulations to 20 metres under the new PIP. These strict measures do not reflect the range of disabilities that may be necessary for you to need a specialised vehicle, and in a high number of cases is simply becoming a bureaucracy nightmare, with around 65% of decisions are now overturned at tribunal in the claimant's favour.
It is important to know that in most cases claimants lost their vehicles before they had a chance to officially complain. If the government re going to continue to take from those who need it the most, the least they could do is to allow them to keep these vital vehicles until the appeal process has been completed, especially if more than half of the decisions are going to be retracted anyway.
This is surely not just a moral mistake but a fiscal one too. If you are going to take a benefit away that leaves a person housebound and unable to work, then you are undoubtedly going to end up paying more to support that person. Take the example of the disabled woman who had her car taken away from her to make a saving of £8,000, who then had an offer to have taxi’s paid for that would cost £65,000 instead!
This is a clear example of unacceptable behaviour from the Tories, not only are they once again targeting the most vulnerable in our societies, but are displaying a bureaucratic idiocy that is quite frankly embarrassing.