Benefits and Work: Charities claim it’s too late to save DLA and AA

An update from Steve Donnison of Benefits and Work

Charities claim it’s too late to save DLA and AA

6 October 2009

CHARITIES ADMIT DEFEAT

We have received a copy of an email which a campaigner says came from the charity ASBAH (Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus) in response to his concerns about the care green paper. The email appears to admit defeat in the fight to save DLA and AA:

“…ASBAH, in line with many other larger bodies is of the view that these proposals have already gathered too much momentum to be reversed and that major changes are inevitable… it is vital within any alternative system that people retain elements within their budgets where they can exercise choice in how they spend that money. Although we have not adopted a position where we are fighting to save DLA and AA we would fight to see this element of choice protected and would resist any attempt to convert all support to ‘in kind’.”

We have emailed ASBAH to ask for confirmation that the email is genuine and to ask which other ‘larger bodies’ – presumably disability charities – have also given up the fight to save DLA and AA.

We have yet to receive a response.

MINISTER’ STATEMENT: IS DLA REALLY SAVED?

One week on and there has been absolutely no corroboration of Care Services minister Phil Hope’s off-the-cuff statement that DLA is not being considered for the axe.

As we pointed out last week, Hope’s ‘don’t worry, be happy’ exhortation contradicts previous statements made by the DWP. So, the continued failure by either the DWP or the Department of Health to make any official statement confirming that they have changed their position and that DLA is now safe can only be a cause for deep suspicion and grave concern.

In addition, no reassuring words whatsoever have been offered in relation to AA.

So, at Benefits and Work, our message continues to be ‘It’s not over yet: carry on campaigning’.

NO 10 PETITION STRUGGLING

The petition about DLA and AA seems to be grinding to a halt again, at under 12,000 signatures. As we said last week, if any agency starts a petition it’s vital that they give it maximum publicity or it ends up damaging, rather than promoting, their cause.

Do you have time to check the website of any disability charity that you have a connection with and, if there isn’t an obvious link to the No 10 petition, email them and politely ask them to publish one.

You could point out that the petition was started by the Disability Charities Consortium and that it’s important that disability charities now work together effectively to promote it. If they can’t act together on so simple a thing as getting signatures on a petition, then what exactly can they act together on and how can they claim to be representing their members’ interests?

The petition can be found at:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/AttendanceA/

GREEN PAPER WEBSITE AMAZED

The Big Care Debate website have answered our queries about missing responses by replying that “we have received an amazing response from the public in regards to the Green Paper, on both the website and via email. We are doing our best to work our way through them, and have them online and ready to view as soon as we can.”

We know that in the past, such consultations have struggled to get responses numbering in the hundreds, let alone the thousands. So, we can certainly believe that the ‘amazing’ response by Benefits and Work campaigners has taken the Department of Health by surprise. But we do wonder how hard it can be to read and publish a few thousand posts over several months. Is the sheer volume of communications really the only problem? Rather than, say, the fact that most responses are overwhelmingly hostile to the green paper?

If you haven’t yet sent a response to the green paper, please do so by visiting this link:

http://careandsupport.direct.gov.uk/greenpaper/execsum/

Or emailing: careandsupport@dh.gsi.gov.uk

We’re concerned that there doesn’t appear to be any complaints procedure for the green paper consultation and we’re looking into this. But at the very least, if they don’t publish your response it will give more grounds for challenging the validity of the whole green paper consultation, which is after all a statutory process.

POST YOUR NEWS

Finally, remember that you can post your news in the Benefits and Work forum, if you’re a member, at:

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/forum?func=showcat&catid=13

and/or in the free welfare watch forums at:

http://welfarewatch.myfineforum.org/index.php

You can also keep up with news about opposition to the green paper at the Carer Watch campaign blog:

http://carerwatch.com/cuts/

Unfortunately, we’re getting so many emails on this subject that we are unlikely to be able to respond individually. But we do appreciate hearing your news and views and we do encourage you to publish them for others to read on the forums detailed above.

Good luck,

Please feel free to forward or publish this email.

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk
Company registration No. 5962666

(c) 2009 Steve Donnison. All rights reserved.

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