IN THE light of the new figures showing that 900 disabled people are losing their Motability cars each week, I would like to challenge the response of DWP ministers when they have been pressed on the issue of PIP (Personal Independence Payments).
They are of course, correct to say that more people are on PIP than DLA (Disabled Living Allowance), however the issue about the loss of Motability cars is that, this is as a result of a reassessment from DLA to PIP. The unfair twist for disabled people is that the walking distance for a successful claim has now been cut down from 50 metres to 20 metres. So, if a person can walk, say, 30 metres with a painful prosthetic leg or pushing a walking frame, they are quite likely to lose their eligibility for a Motability vehicle, even if they have a progressive condition.
Damian Green is deliberately muddying the waters by conflating new PIP claims with reassessments. Since 2013, 51,000 people have lost access to Motability vehicles as they have been switched from DLA to PIP, and 126,300 of the 254,200 people who were eligible for funding have now lost access. He also says that PIP was consulted on extensively. But the 50/20 metre issue was only consulted on separately as an afterthought. I hope he has read the consultation results. He had over 1,000 replies, practically all of which said that 20 metres was not a fair distance. No wonder so many appeals on PIP reassessments are successful.
Baroness Celia Thomas CBE
Vice-president of Muscular Dystrophy UK and Liberal Democrat spokesman on disability