Government U-turn on scrapping mobility allowance expected

The government looks set to back down from controversial plans to remove up to £50 a week in mobility benefits from disabled people in care homes.

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The government looks set to back down from controversial plans to remove up to £50 a week in mobility benefits from disabled people in care homes.

Charities are cautiously optimistic that the government will not now take away the mobility component of disability living allowance from 78,000 residents funded by the NHS or councils as envisaged in the Welfare Reform Bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords.

It is thought the government will announce its U-turn next month, though it is uncertain precisely what concessions the government is prepared to make on the mobility component.

The news follows disability rights campaigner Lord Low’s inquiry into scrapping the mobility component, which called for the benefit to be retained.

The government is holding its own internal review into the proposal, which would come into force in 2013 with the replacement of DLA with a new benefit, personal independence payment.

Steve McIntosh, policy and public affairs officer at Carers UK, said: “There are a number of areas, which the government is looking at again around the Welfare Reform Bill. We would welcome any move that the government would make to continue the mobility component in residential care and hope this represents a positive sign the government is looking to reconsider the decision.”

Simon Shaw, parliamentary manager at the deafblind charity Sense, said: “Over a year on, we continue to hope that the government listens to the concerns raised by deafblind and disabled people to reconsider its position, so that people living in residential care do not lose an essential lifeline.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We have always been clear that we will not make any changes that stop disabled people in care homes from getting out and about.

“Our officials have spent the last few months gathering information and evidence, including visiting disabled people in care homes to find out from them and their families about their mobility needs.

“The Low review also looked at some of the same issues and so we will be reflecting on the outcome of this work before we announce the final decision shortly.”

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