Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1021 - 1039)

Ordered: that Counsel and Parties be called in.

  1021. CHAIRMAN: Mr Berryman?

The Petition of the London Borough of Newham

  1022. MS LIEVEN: I think, my Lord, that Mr Reed has one or two clearing-up points from yesterday to deal with before we call Mr Berryman.

  1023. CHAIRMAN: Certainly.

  1024. MR REED: Thank you, my Lord. We have endeavoured overnight to answer two particular questions that you raised yesterday concerning the Disability Living Allowance issue, the first as to who can actually make an application and gain the benefit of a mobility allowance and the second relating to the numbers of people who would benefit from the lower-rate mobility component in the relevant wards relating to Manor Park and Maryland. We have produced a set of documents to talk the Committee through what we have found out, but I am afraid we only have an overhead projection for the moment, in which case I will talk through what will come up on to the screen.[1]

  1025. The first point is that there is no standard definition of disability. We have endeavoured to give some context for why it is that we used the mobility component and it is this: that, because of the approach taken in respect of planning transport, what is generally done as a proxy for understanding the number of disabled people is that one uses that mobility component. That essentially was the purpose behind using, in this case, the higher rate of mobility allowance.

  1026. CHAIRMAN: Presumably that is an overestimate for people who would not be able to go up or down steps?

  1027. MR REED: That is right. I was going to deal with it later on, but, if I can just be clear, the reason that we ourselves put that information forward was in order that the Committee could understand the relative levels of disability within those various wards in comparison to London generally, although at the time we gave the figures for the UK and another area, namely Forest Gate, which itself is going to have an upgraded station, so we were using it simply as a comparator, of course knowing or now appreciating that the Living Allowance element will cover a wider number of people than those who would benefit from step-free access.

  1028. CHAIRMAN: That is very helpful, thank you very much.

  1029. MR REED: My Lords, if we can then turn to the next slide which deals with who it is that can obtain a Disability Living Allowance, we have set out a summary of the position.[2] The relevant sections of the Act and the statutory instruments are somewhat complicated and what we have done is use the information produced by the Department of Work and Pensions' Information Directorate in order to explain in more simple terms those who can benefit from Disability Living Allowance.

  1030. If I run through each of the smaller bullet points: firstly, you are unable or virtually unable to work, or you have no feet or legs; or you are assessed to be both 100 per cent disabled because of loss of eyesight and not less than 80 per cent disabled because of deafness and you need someone with you when you are out of doors; or you are severely mentally impaired with severe behavioural problems and qualify for the highest rate of care component; or the effort of walking could threaten your life or seriously affect your health; or you need guidance and/or supervision from another person when walking out of doors in unfamiliar places. Those, in short, are the criteria and of course, as you rightly point out, my Lord, it incorporates people who would not necessarily require step-free access.

  1031. We then give some information on the higher and lower rate of the mobility component of the allowance.[3] The lower rate is referable to whether you need guidance or supervision out of doors and the higher rate is then if you have any of the other more severe walking difficulties and, when you receive the hard copies, you will note that the last of those bullet points is the one that leads to the lower-rate Disability Allowance.

  1032. CHAIRMAN: I think we would quite like copies of those in due course.

  1033. MR REED: We will make sure that that is done for your Lordships. The next is simply a list of the main disabling conditions that could lead to the conclusion that you should be entitled to the allowance.[4] Again this information comes from the Department of Work and Pensions and I will not read them all out, but your Lordships will notice that there are a good many of them that lead to the need for step-free access.

  1034. If we can turn on then to the next slide, all that is pointed out on this slide, and I deal with the second of the bullet points, is that the way in which we used it was as an indicator, that is to say, the mobility allowance figures, of the comparability between various areas and we of course acknowledge, as we have done in the first bullet point, that one cannot use that statistic to predict the absolute level of demand for step-free accessible stations.[5]

  1035. Turning to the next slide, in response to the question, I think, from Lord Brooke in respect of the figures for the lower-rate mobility component.[6] We have endeavoured to get that information and your Lordships can see that, firstly, the second column identifies the higher-rate mobility component and shows that as the total number and then as a percentage of the relevant population in the wards and in the borough as a comparison and then in London as a whole. Your Lordships will remember that Mr West yesterday gave information on the position in respect of the UK at 0.9 per cent, so, when your Lordships get the hard copy of this sheet, you can note that for your Lordships' information. What we do not have, however, are the actual figures on the UK, that is to say, the figures that make up the percentage of the populations. The third column deals with the lower-rate mobility component and again indicates what that is as a percentage of the population. My Lords, I do not have the UK figure, but what we do have is the London figure and I think it was Lord Brooke who indicated that he wanted to have a like-for-like comparison and that it should be narrower than the UK. In fact I think it was Lord Young, but, in any event, we have provided the London figure as opposed to the UK figure.

  1036. That deals with the information that we have been able to obtain to explain the nature of the figures that were included in Mr West's presentation. We are also endeavouring to get the actual boundaries of the various wards that make up Maryland and Manor Park. When we have that plan, we will certainly provide that to your Lordships straightaway. My Lords, that is all I have at the present time.

  1037. CHAIRMAN: Nevertheless, it is extremely helpful and thank you very much. Now, Ms Lieven?

  1038. MS LIEVEN: My Lord, can I proceed to call Mr Berryman. While Mr Berryman is taking his seat, following on from the questions that were asked yesterday, we have sought to prepare a note on the figures that we have used for people who are likely to benefit from PRM accessible works and our approach to the matter. Somebody has obviously done a lot of work on that overnight and the note is being printed at the moment, so what I would suggest doing is that I will come back to that at the end of Mr Berryman's evidence and I hope that by that stage the note will have arrived and Mr Berryman and I will be able to take your Lordships through it.

  1039. CHAIRMAN: You do it in whichever order is convenient.

1   Committee: Ref: A4, Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (SCN-20080227-001) Back

2   Committee: Ref: A4, Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (SCN-20080227-002) Back

3   Committee: Ref: A4, Higher and Lower Rate Mobility Component of DLA (SCN-20080227-003) Back

4   Committee: Ref: A4, Main Disabling Conditions (SCN-20080227-004) Back

5   Committee: Ref: A4, Use of the Mobility Component Statistic(SCN-20080227-005) Back

6   Committee: Ref: A4, Mobility Component shows Wards have similar profile(SCN-20080227-006) Back

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