Labour MP Katy Clark has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions outlining her concerns over the potential impact of replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
In particular, Ms Clark has highlighted a warning from the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), which says that under the UK Government’s draft proposals blind and partially-sighted people could fail to qualify for the higher components of the benefit and could therefore see their incomes significantly reduced.
Katy Clark said, “It would be completely unacceptable if, as a result of the change to PIP, the standard of living of blind and partially-sighted people was reduced.
“I have been concerned for some time that the change from DLA to PIP has simply been about saving money rather than supporting disabled people, and unfortunately the most recent criteria published by the Government confirm my fears.”
Ms Clark continued, “Blind and partially-sighted people often require assistance when using public transport and expensive specialist equipment in the home to allow them to perform basic tasks, such as cooking and using a sink, which most people take for granted.
“I have already been contacted by a number of blind and partially-sighted constituents who have outlined to me how DLA helps them live independently in their day-to-day lives. They are deeply troubled by the Government’s proposals and believe if they go ahead in their current form their quality of life will be seriously affected.”
Katy Clark, who represents North Ayrshire & Arran, concluded by urging the UK Government to “enter into talks with the RNIB and think again about these damaging changes.”