Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The government response to the petition to save DLA and AA - A translation

Last week the government published their response to the petition to save Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to recognise the vital support that Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) provide to disabled people, and to ensure that these benefits are secured and are not removed as part of any future reform of the social care system in England.”

Typically it is difficult to understand so I thought I'd have a go at translating it, the original government response is in the black text, my translation the blue italics;

The Government understands that disability benefits provide an important means of financial support for severely disabled people who have extra costs as a result of their disabilities.

The government accepts the link between disability and extra financial costs. The government know disability benefits are one but not the only way of providing that financial support. The government are making it clear this support will only be for severely disabled people and so indicating it will become increasingly more difficult to be eligible for such support similar to the change from Incapacity Benefits to an Employment and Support Allowance.

We also know the care and support system we have at the moment is not sustainable.

The government is broke. The current care and support system are expensive and seem like an easypolitically expident place to save money from

By 2026 population estimates show that there will be double the number of people aged over 5 that there are now, and that the number of people over 100 will have quadrupled. In 20 years' time, we expect over 1.7 million more adults to have a need for care and support.

The government like to use statistics to sound scary and give the impression 'something must be done' People are living longer and have more need for care and support.

We need to reform the care and support system radically to meet these future pressures. In a reformed social care and support system, which offers more support to older and disabled people, we are looking to see if bringing together the new care and support system and some disability benefits into a single system may be a better way of providing support.

The government are intending to plunder the existing system of direct financial benefits to disabled people in order to fund this and be seen to be 'doing something'

However, we will only do this if we can better support the needs of older and disabled people, and we have ruled out bringing Disability Living Allowance for those under the age of 65 into the National Care Service.

The government will go ahead with their plans to remove Attendance Allowance as a financial benefit. The government have been surprised by the level of protest about Disability Living Allowance so for now want to give people the impression that it is safe.

Please note the government are stating they will not bring DLA into the National Care Service. The government are NOT stating they will keep DLA

Whatever the outcome of the consultation, we want to ensure that people receiving any of the relevant benefits at the time of reform will continue to receive the same level of cash support under our new and better care and support system.

The government will go ahead and act as they see fit regardless. Those who are already on these benefits will receive the same level of ‘cash support’ probably in the form of allocated care from their local authorities as that’s what appears on paper to be cheapest and don’t see how people could complain about getting the same amount of money spent on them.

If consultation shows that integrating some disability benefits into a simplified system is the right approach, we would want to ensure that the future care and support system retains and builds on the main advantages of the current disability benefits system.

The government intend to spend vast sums of money on consulting to get the answers they want regardless of the views or needs of the actual disabled people. These advantages will be what the government pays the consultants to decide them to be, therefore allowing the government to go ahead with their original plans.

We know that disability benefits are popular expensive because they provide a universal entitlement are not means tested which does not depend on where a person lives or subject to a post code lottery, they provide a cash budget which can be spent on the services someone wants, and people often but not always use them in ways that help them to stay independent and well for longer. The government ultimately wishes to remove the power to spend from the individual

These three aspects - a universal system that is consistent across the country, flexible methods of payment through personal budgets ie not in the form of direct financial benefits but in the form of an overall 'package' assessed by the local authority and investment in prevention the government is not entirely sure what this means, but thought it sounded good and that you wouldn't know either - will all be important components of the new system.


Ben S said...

Spot on and thoroughly depressing, though you could add a bit to the section about leaving under-65 DLA alone, which really says:

"People with disabilities who are under-65 are much more organised and vocal in their opposition to these moves... so we will pick on over-65s instead."

That sound you can hear is my head hitting my desk in frustration and anguish that a Labour, *a Labour*, government would sink this low. Even after thirteen years of disappointments, they are still managing to surprise me with their abandonment of principles.

bendy rebel said...

'In 20 years' time, we expect over 1.7 million more adults to have a need for care and support.'

If the government have their way no one will need care and support because at the rate they're going we'll all just be thrown out on the streets with no money and no way of earning any and with the reactions I've had from a shocking amount of people when I've got out of my wheelchair to hobble just a few steps no one will care

Achelois said...

When this information popped into my mail in box I knew I could rely on you to blog about it.

I have got to the stage where I block so much out, its a stress reaction I think.

James Higham said...

The simple fact is though that the money in the coffers has all but run out. Good times ahead. Not.

Lankylonglegs said...

Yet again we see that those in need are punished and those that are extremely wealthy and have no financial problems get taxed less and less each budget.
The recent 'No Smoking' ban in all public places has only sufficed to make things worse. The revenue from those cigarette taxes used to be squirrelled away by the Government to finance the NHS among many other costs, now of course not only do they not have the billions of pounds gleaned from that to help cover costs, but also the now reformed smokers all live longer which in turn will cost them more to supply healthcare needs for. Great ideas? I think not!
They should raise taxes on the super rich if they cannot cope.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

BenS: I so know what you mean about it being a Labour govt, for me that's the most terrifying part of all this-the Tories appear the safer bet for disabled people, although of course they are not.
Mind you, I stopped seeing this lot as having anything to do with the real Labour party many years ago.

Bendyrebel: It's certainly a very scary agenda-cut benefits alongside reduced services and the introduction of 'assisted suicide' Not a good direction for any society to go in

Achelois: I can understand that, my stress reaction is to rant about it on a's for the sake of my blood pressure!

JamesH: Absolutely it has. But lets not attack the most vulnerable to be seen to be 'doing something' when there are so many straightforward ways to save vast sums of money from all our bureaucratic systems.

LL: The lack of smoking taxes is certainly going to backfire. I think it's this kind of thing making the idea of the Robin Hood tax so popular