I wrote again to my MP about the DLA reform consultation document.
Thank you for your further letter of 22/12/10 on behalf of Mr Misplaced Marbles about the Disability Living Allowance reform consultation document.
The purpose of the new assessment is to allow us to more accurately, objectively and consistently assess individuals who will benefit most from additional support. The Department remains committed to the social model of disability and it is not our intention that the new assessment will be based purely on the medical model of disability and focused solely on an individual's impairment. It is likely to focus on individuals' ability to carry out key activities necessary for leading full and active independent lives.
As I have said, we are currently in the process of developing the detail of the new assessment with the help of a group of independent specialists. While I therefore cannot give details at this time of how the assessment will affect Mr Misplaced Marbles, I can assure you that it will not only take into account physical impairments, but also mental, intellectual and cognitive ones.
I was pleased to read that Disability Living Allowance enables Mr Misplaced Marbles to work. Currently the employment rate of Disability Living Allowance recipients is very low, I hope that our reform of Disability Living Allowance, alongside other current benefit reforms such as the Universal Credit and new Work Programme will enable many other disabled people to work and enjoy all the advantages that an active working life can bring.
I appreciate that there are many reasons why the number of people claiming Disability Living Allowance is increasing, but we need to get expenditure on a sustainable footing. Over the last decade spending on Disability Living Allowance has risen dramatically. In just eight years the numbers claiming Disability Living Allowance has risen from around 2.5 million to nearly 3.2 million - an increase of 30 per cent. The inherited fiscal legacy has forced the Government to make some tough decisions about how we target resources - the Budget defect is costing this country £43 Billion a year in interest payments alone. The Government has tried to make fair choices and to protect those who are most in need.
I hope Mr Misplaced Marbles will find this reply useful and that he will send in any further views as an official response to the public consultation.
I hope this reply explains the situation