In a response to the 23,707-signature petition on the Number 10 website calling for the continuation of two key benefits – Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance – Prime Minister Gordon Brown today confirmed that his Government have ruled out putting the future administration of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) into the hands of the UK's local councils.
The idea – mooted in a controversial Green Paper consultation last year – outraged UK disability organisations who feared that DLA might then become subject to a postcode lottery, which could then disadvantage thousands of younger disabled people if they lived in areas where there are either heavily cash-strapped councils or differing ideas about spending priorities.
In his reply, the Prime Minister wrote:
“In a reformed social care and support system, which offers more support to older and disabled people, we are looking to see if bringing together the new care and support system and some disability benefits into a single system may be a better way of providing support.
“However, we will only do this if we can better support the needs of older and disabled people, and we have ruled out bringing Disability Living Allowance for those under the age of 65 into the National Care Service.”
The petition called on the Prime Minister to recognise the vital support that Attendance Allowance (for those over the age of 65) and Disability Living Allowance (for those under 65) provide to disabled people, and to ensure that these benefits are not removed as part of any future reform of the social care system in England.
The Prime Minister's statement can be read in full here. It is in line with Ministerial statements made last year.