Friday, 7 January 2011

A letter from my MP

Cross posted at Rage against the Coalition

Just before Christmas I wrote to my MP expressing my concerns at the DLA reforms. I didn't expect much because he is a staunch Tory but I had to at least try.

Here is his reply

"Dear Ms Thomas,

Thank you for contacting me about reforms to Disability Living Allowance.

I believe that the Government owe a duty to disabled people to promote their independence and equality and I also believe it has a duty to ensure that it has the right governance in place to deliver this support efficiently and sensibly.

The Government is already undertaking a large-scale reform of the welfare system, for example the Universal Credit and it's flagship Work Programme. These welfare reforms are designed to protect people in the most vulnerable situations, including disabled people. The Government has made it clear that it is steadfast in its support for the principles of DLA, as a non-means-tested cash benefit contributing to the extra costs incurred by disabled people.

However, DLA is currently a poorly targeted and unsustainable benefit. Almost three million people receive this benefit at a forecast cost of £12 billion per year. We now have a disability benefit which is confusing for individuals to understand, based on unclear criteria and often results in inconsistent rewards, and since 1992, both the case load and the cost of DLA have grown to a level that is unsustainable. Change to DLA are long overdue and must address questions of fairness and value, while supporting disabled people to lead independent lives. We must ensure DLA better reflects the needs of disabled people today, rather than in the 1990's, and that it enables support to be targeted to those with the greatest need.

The Government wants to bring disability benefits into the 21st century by replacing DLA with a new Personal Independence Payment. This is an opportunity to improve the support for disabled people and enable them to lead full, active and independent lives. The Personal Independence Payment will maintain the key principles of DLA, but it will be delivered in a fairer, more consistent and sustainable manner. It is only right that support should be targeted at those disabled people who face the greatest challenges to leading independent lives and this reform is required to enable that, along with a clearer assessment process.

The Government has launched a formal public consultation on DLA and wants the views of disabled people to be fully reflected in any change it makes to DLA and has asked disabled people and their organisations to join the debate on reforming DLA. You may wish to make your views known and you can contribute to the Consultation by visiting website:
I want to assure you that those who are genuinely sick, disabled or retired have nothing to fear. This Government does not regard caring for the needy as a burden, but as a proud duty.

I hope that this reassures you and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Robert Syms
Member of Parliament for Poole."

Cutting through the waffle, this says to me 'We are paying too many people. We don't want to pay that many people. So we are re-drawing the boundaries to ensure that those we don't want to pay don't get through.

We want to pretend we are caring but what we are really concerned about is how much money we will have to spend and our reputation'

I have no faith that my own MP will stand up for people like me.


  1. Write back, including the words "I am not stupid". Seriously, he needs to explain how denying people in care homes mobility promotes their independence.

  2. Yes, I interpreted "... and that it enables support to be targeted to those with the greatest need." to mean the least number possible too.

    We can't trust any of them, IMHO.

  3. If ATOS have been TOLD to chuck off as many people as possible and ordered to reduce by 20% - Then that is saying that they are going to be blatantly UNFAIR because to choose a number means that they are not doing it to care for people - It means they have decided some people aren't worth it - And should be thrown away no matter what

  4. What a load of twaddle. As for helping them by looking at the consultation regarding the changes in the DLA, that's a joke as well.

    Way back in 2008 I attended a meeting for the consultation paper for the then new ESA. Many folk who attended the consultation aired serious questions relating to the new ESA. We were all told that nothing would be finalised because they have 35,000 consultation papers to look through first before deciding and this would take several weeks.

    The whole consultation exercise was the biggest farce ever, as come the following working day the decision to implement the new ESA was in the media.

    Any consultation exercise it appears is just that, an exercise and for the government to be able to say, "well we did ask the people their views".

    I personally was disgusted as it obviously showed that they had not taken a blind bit of regard to the views of the people who had taken the time to fill out the consultation papers and attend the actual consultation meeting.

    I won't be filling out any consultation paper again, a waste of time because the government will do what they have decided (probably well before the consultation papers go out) anyway, our views do not matter. The government keep saying our views do matter but personal experience, tells me otherwise.