Welfare Reform Bill

Memorandum submitted by Cllr Lucinda Yeadon (WR 51)

1. I am the Councillor with responsibility for the Adult Health and Social Care portfolio at Leeds City Council.

2. Summary: Clause 83 should be removed from the Welfare Reform Bill as, if implemented, it would limit the independence of people with disabilities who live in care homes.

3. I would like the Committee to remove clause 83 from the Welfare Reform Bill. If enacted, this clause would stop the payment of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to people who live in care homes.

4. National and local disability policy has, for many years now, aimed to encourage the integration of people with disabilities into everyday living. It is right that people with disabilities are enabled to play an active role in their local communities, be independent, and enjoy the same rights and opportunities as non-disabled people.

5. The removal of the mobility component from Disability Living Allowance (or its successor) for people living in care homes completely contradicts this policy and risks substantially reducing the independence of people with disabilities who live in care homes.

6. I am concerned that clause 83 would severely limit the ability of DLA claimants who live in care homes to lives their lives in a way most people take for granted. It would hinder their ability to meet up with family and friends, attend a college course, or take part in volunteering.

7. I am concerned that Ministers have said they will look again at and delay implementing the mobility component proposal, yet clause 83 remains in the Welfare Reform Bill. I am particularly concerned that the phrase "regulations may provide" at clause 83 (i) implies that if the Bill is enacted, the mobility component proposal could be implemented without further recourse to primary legislation. I am worried that this means whilst Ministers have promised to look again and delay the proposal, the Bill does not require them to do so.

8. Until clause 83 is removed from the Welfare Reform Bill, it will continue to be a source of great anxiety to many vulnerable people in Leeds and nationally.

April 2011