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Disability Living Allowance

Volume 531: debated on Monday 18 July 2011

We have announced that we would not remove the DLA mobility component from people in residential care from October 2012 and would consider the issue as part of our wider reform to introduce the personal independence payment. It is only right that we consider carefully the needs of this particular group to understand their current circumstances before we come to any final decision on how best to address their needs in future.

If that is the case, perhaps the Minister can explain why these savings still appear to be in the Chancellor’s Red Book. Has she discussed the matter with her colleagues in the Treasury?

The hon. Gentleman has probably raised this matter with me before. The Red Book reflects the current position, which is that support for care home residents is being reviewed alongside the broader reform of DLA. The figures in the Red Book make it clear that those savings will be made as part of the Government’s overall reform of the programme, which is very consistent with what I have said, and will be part of the reform of PIP.

I take it from the Minister’s answer to the previous question that the loss of £160 million for disabled people will continue. I draw to her attention the launch today of an independent review of the mobility component of disability living allowance, led by Lord Low of Dalston CBE and overseen by the charities Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap. It has been launched because they have lost confidence in the Government’s review. Unlike the Government’s review, the Low review includes clear terms of reference, calls for evidence and representations from disabled people themselves. If the Minister is sure of her ground on this matter, and in the interests of transparency, will she commit today to participating in the Low review?

I thank the hon. Lady for her question—I think. The deficit does not go away, and I think she needs to remember that. We have to ensure that we have sufficient money to have a sustainable disability living allowance or personal independence payment into the future, and I look forward to working with her on ways of achieving that. With regard to the additional evidence that will be put forward as part of the Low review, I obviously welcome any additional information that will help us, along with the 5,500 submissions we have received as part of the DLA consultation. This is a really important issue and I am glad that the hon. Lady is getting involved in finding the right solution, because obviously that is important for us all.