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 Lord Low’s review urges Government to save mobility payments for disabled people living in residential care

Lord Low of Dalston has called on the Government to protect mobility payments for disabled people living in residential care, in his independent review report published today.

Lord Low said: “If payment of the mobility component to people living in residential care ends, this will be a serious step backwards for disability rights.”

Over 800 submissions were made to the 12-week independent review into how the personal mobility needs of people living in state-funded residential care are met.

Leading disability charities, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap, asked Lord Low to conduct the review, including gathering extensive written evidence, oral evidence sessions, wider policy analysis and site visits.  Evidence from individuals living in state-funded residential care and their families, care providers and local authorities all went into producing Lord Low’s review of the issue.

The key findings of the review report are:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) mobility component, or its successor under Personal Independence Payment (PIP), should be retained. Its removal would lead to a loss of independence for disabled people
  • The report found no evidence of a duplication of funding in relation to the mobility needs being met by local authorities and those being met by DLA mobility.
  • There needs to be greater clarity of local authorities’ responsibilities for funding mobility needs and the role played by DLA mobility.

Lord Low continued: “Everyone has mobility needs, but we know that many disabled people face additional costs or require support in meeting these needs. What people stressed to the Review is how fundamental mobility is in securing other key rights. It enables people to participate in their community, gain an education, and maintain a family life or work.

“The report makes some important recommendations that should help ensure that disabled people are able to exercise their right to mobility in the same manner as non-disabled people.”

The Welfare Reform Bill currently gives Government the power to stop paying the mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (which is set to replace Disability Living Allowance) to 78,000 people living in residential care. It has already passed through the House of Commons and is currently being debated in the House of Lords.

Lord Low’s review was designed to create an opportunity for an independent, public and comprehensive examination of how the mobility needs of people living in residential care are met. It runs in parallel to the Government’s own internal review into the proposed removal of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment from disabled people living in residential care.

One of the members of the Review’s Steering Group, Wendy Tiffin, said: “I became involved with the Low Review because, being disabled myself and reliant on a wheelchair to get me out and about, I felt it was important that disabled people should be represented.

“Many people need support with personal mobility in residential care as this gives them the opportunity to be independent and to mix with other people.”

To find out more about the review and to submit evidence, visit: http://lowreview.org.uk

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Media enquiries

  • Contact Pasca Lane in the Mencap media team on 020 7696 6017 Email: [email protected] Out of Hours: 07770 656 659.
  • Contact Leonard Cheshire Disability’s press office on 020 3242 0399 or email [email protected] Out of office 07903 949 388.

 

Notes to the editor

The Low Review ran from Monday 18 July – Monday 10 October 2011.

Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap acted as the secretariat for this review. The Low Review was set up following the model of a government review or select committee enquiry with a public call for written evidence over a three month period, including oral evidence sessions.

The review’s steering group includes:

  • John Adams: General Secretary of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG)
  • Dr Peter Kenway: Director of the New Policy Institute
  • Gary Vaux: Head of Advice (Benefits and Work) at Hertfordshire County Council
  • Wendy Tiffin: a care home resident who will be directly affected if mobility payments are removed
  • Pauline Bardon: the mother of a disabled teenager who hopes to go to residential college in September 2012
  • Judith Geddes: Co-Chair of the Resources Network for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)

For more information about the Low Review go to www.lowreview.org.uk.

  • Leonard Cheshire Disability supports thousands of disabled people in the UK and works in more than 50 countries. We campaign for change and provide innovative services that give disabled people the opportunity to live life their way. Visit www.LCDisability.org
  • Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want. People with a learning disability and their carers can find out more about our services by calling Mencap Direct on 0300 333 111 or by visiting www.mencap.org.uk