That does not mean there are fewer disabled people, just fewer who will get the help they need.
A new report will be coming out on Monday which will reveal the results of FOI requests to find out about the responses to the government consultation on the plans to scrap DLA and replace it with "PIP". The reason FOI requests are necessary is because the government still hasn't published the consultation despite the fact that MPs have already voted on the proposals. There's also the small matter than it reveals that the government has been using misleading and incorrect figures to get parliamentarians to support the proposals.
Among the report’s conclusions that the press have already got hold of are:
- Only 7% of organisations that took part in the consultation were fully in support of plans to replace DLA with PIP
- There was overwhelming opposition in the consultation responses to nearly all of the government’s proposals for DLA reform
- The government has consistently used inaccurate figures to exaggerate the rise in DLA claimants
- The report shows that nearly all of the recent increase in working-age claimants of DLA has been associated with mental health conditions and learning difficulties. Between 2002 and 2010, the number of working-age DLA claimants – excluding those with mental health conditions and learning difficulties remained remarkably stable
- 98% of those who responded opposed plans to change the qualifying period for PIP from three months (as it is with DLA) to six months
- 90% opposed plans for a new assessment, which disabled people fear will be far too similar to the much-criticised work capability assessment used to test eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA)
- Respondents to the consultation repeatedly warned that the government’s plans could breach the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Today, this story is in the Mirror, the Mail, the Telegraph, the Indy and the Guardian. Boris Johnson has attacked the government's proposals. And the report hasn't even been published yet! The media dam is breaking and this issue is on the verge of exploding into the national conciousness and when it does, a lot of people in government will be asked some very hard questions.
But meanwhile, despite us passing a motion on this at conference, our leadership is maintaining the same silence and deliberate avoidance of this topic that they have for the past six months. Words cannot describe just how depressing it is when the Tory Mayor of London is doing a better job at standing up for the vulnerable then our own leadership.