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Peers try to smuggle new Motability support into up-rating bill (members only)

Disabled peers have appealed to ministers to prevent the “chaos” set to be caused by tens of thousands of disabled people having their Motability vehicles removed, because of planned government cuts to disability benefits.

{EMBOT SUBSCRIPTION=5,6}Both Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson and Lord [Colin] Low called for the coalition to offer protection to those disabled people who will be forced to hand back their Motability vehicles as a result of disability living allowance (DLA) reform.

Peers heard that 400,000 disabled people were likely to lose their right to a Motability vehicle when the government scraps DLA for working-age people and replaces it with its new personal independence payment (PIP), although not all of those will be Motability customers.

Baroness Grey-Thompson teamed up with fellow crossbench peer Lord Alton to propose an amendment to the controversial welfare benefits up-rating bill that they believe would alleviate the impact of the government’s plans.

Baroness Grey-Thompson told peers during the bill’s committee stage that disabled people who lost their right to the higher rate mobility component of DLA in the move to PIP, and found themselves on the PIP standard rate or without PIP altogether, could have just a few weeks before they were forced to return their car to Motability.

She said she was concerned for those who lived in areas without accessible public transport or who had needed “very expensive adaptations” to their Motability vehicles, and could be left “without an adequate method of getting around”.

She said: “The short timescale between notifying someone of their car being removed and it being taken away could make life extremely difficult. Without some further protection, it could lead to chaos for many disabled people.”

If a Motability customer won their appeal against being denied the enhanced PIP rate, they would then have to apply for another Motability vehicle and order a set of expensive new vehicle adaptations.

Baroness Grey-Thompson said: “If people have at least the guarantee of running through to the end of their contract for a Motability car, this would give many a more adequate time to make other provision.”

Lord Low said estimates suggested that as many as 200 disabled people in every parliamentary constituency could lose their Motability vehicles, which would mean “a large number of people who are likely to be beating a path to their MP’s surgery with a very real grievance”.

He said: “I cannot believe that the government seriously intend to proceed with a measure which will take Motability cars out of the hands of disabled people who currently rely on them for their mobility and without which they will effectively be rendered prisoners in their own house.”

Lord Alton suggested a “period of grace” for those who already have Motability vehicles and risk losing them as a result of the DLA reforms, and warned the government that the issue could come back to “haunt” them.

The amendment – which was not taken to a vote – called for the government to provide individual disabled people with enough money to continue to pay for their Motability vehicle until their lease expired, if they faced having to hand it back because their benefits had been cut.

Baroness Stowell, the Conservative peer who speaks for the government on work and pensions, said it was difficult to predict the impact of the DLA reforms on Motability customer numbers.

But she said the government was “continuing its discussions with Motability to see what arrangements can be put in place to ease this burden on people as the process of replacing DLA with PIP comes on board”, and that she would seek further information from the Department for Work and Pensions on those discussions.

The welfare benefits up-rating bill will see many benefits increased by only one per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16, in addition to the one per cent increase already due to be implemented this year, far below the expected rate of inflation.

Although DLA and disability-related premiums will be protected from the one per cent cap, the main element of employment and support allowance (ESA) will rise by just one per cent, as will the extra element for claimants in the ESA work-related activity group, for those disabled people expected to move eventually into jobs.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Comments  

#9 Judith 2013-03-27 00:28
I thought the government wanted to help people get back in to work? Yes lets remove the benefit that does just that, and also take away their motability transport to stop them from getting there. A bit contradictory .... Or is it just about a disabled person "knowing their place" and whilst being encouraged to work, our skills are not worth paying that little bit extra for.......
#8 Colin Roberts 2013-03-19 18:59
Can anyone answe this? This 20 metres issue with pip... does it mean you must not be able to walk 20 metres without pain, or does it mean you cant walk 20 metres at all?

It seems to me if the former is the case, that if it is too painful to walk 20 metres for us then we just tell them, and thats that isnt it?

I mean it hurts me after a few steps....and im sure there are many of us like this? Can I get some feedback please? ta.
+1 #7 Colin Roberts 2013-03-19 18:53
Surely the Coalition know that if they persue this insanity with Disabled people that they will be hated above all, and never returned to government for many many years to come? Are they completely mad?
+3 #6 deadward 2013-03-10 10:07
yet another set of examples of a government that just wants to hit easy targets to gain votes .but it wont work . they have made enemies of just about everybody
-3 #5 carruthers 2013-03-09 05:56
I think that reducing the numbers of Motability cars on the road would be a vote-winner. Some newspapers have been ramping up hatred of the Motability scheme - "Get your undisciplined child labelled as ADHD and the tax payer has to fund a new 4x4 for you!"

Closing down the Motability scheme altogether would be good electoral management - provided it was close enough to the election that nobody would see how many jobs it would cost the UK car industry.
+1 #4 michala bradshaw 2013-03-09 00:04
i lost my high rate mobility and im having to wait for a redecision to be made
in the mean time we are trying to find the money to keep the car we bought with the money we saved by not having a motability car but we are in the same boat still having to try and maintain it just so i can keep going to much needed hospital apps and doctors apps
+1 #3 Brian 2013-03-06 20:54
how are people going to make doctors and hospital appointment without a car. i know myself would be made housebound and what standard of life would we have...all just so sad
+1 #2 highlydistressed 2013-03-05 23:22
Sadly, and due to circumstances, many claimants who fail the PIP test will not be in a financial position to requisition a replacement vehicle. The government really does need to look at this issue with a view to `smoothing the transition' for these claimants. Should they not for once indicate some empathy for these claimants as many will fall through the net as a result of tightening up the Mobility requirements.
+4 #1 annken 2013-03-04 16:17
I have to have a car that is easy to get in and out off, because of this we paid £1000.00 deposit on top of mobility payments for the most practiccal car of our choice. This money came from the trade in of our old car which was too expensive for us to run(old 4x4). We couldnt keep finding that amount of money if we were to loose the higher rate mobility and then win it back at appeal.

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