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Disability Living Allowance

Volume 529: debated on Monday 13 June 2011

Throughout the development of the new personal independence payment, which will replace disability living allowance, we have had extensive discussions and consultation with disabled people, their families and organisations representing them. The insight of organisations such as RADAR, Mencap, Scope, the United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council and People First into how disability living allowance can fail to support disabled people is immensely valuable. We will continue to work closely with disabled people and their organisations as the detail of the assessment criteria is developed and tested.

On the recent “Hardest Hit” march, I met constituents who had the impression that disability living allowance was to end altogether and would not be replaced by the personal independence payment. Does the Minister agree that in representing these disabled constituents, organisations have to ensure that they communicate clearly with those who might be affected, who are some of the most vulnerable in our society?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is important that the organisations working with us in the development of the new personal independence payment use that opportunity to ensure that the people whom they represent are well informed. We need a new approach to disability living allowance. The Labour party has already agreed with that, although we are still waiting to hear exactly what the Opposition’s plan would be.

The organisations that the hon. Lady read out quite quickly sounded like organisations representing people whose conditions do not vary hugely. There are people on disability living allowance who have conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, that can get hugely better and hugely worse. How much conversation has she had with organisations representing people with fluctuating conditions as well as those with progressive conditions?

The only reason I read the list out quickly was not to incur the wrath of Mr Speaker.

I would like to reassure the hon. Lady that I absolutely understand her point. Indeed, I am meeting organisations representing many people with fluctuating conditions. Importantly, we are also considering the findings of the work capability assessment to see how we can build into the new personal independence payment a way of ensuring that people with fluctuating conditions are well served.