Disability Living Allowance spending is going to go up, not down

Last weekend I debated Neil Coyle, from the Disability Alliance, about changes to Disability Living Allowance.  During that discussion he made a lot of very misleading arguments and I just wanted to clear up the facts.

Here is the video of the debate first:

Let's look at three issues.  Is the benefit being cut?  Is there an ongoing consultation?  And, the testimony of people who might suffer if there DLA is withdrawn.

First, spending is going up in real terms from the level it was at last year, only falling slightly from a peak not expected till 2012-13.  The figures are available here from the DWP benefit expenditure tables.  Here is a graph showing expenditure from 2000-01 to 2015-16 after adjusting for inflation.  At the end of the period spending will still be higher than it was last year.

Spending is being cut from projected levels.  But that just means the Government have decided they need to arrest the rise in the cost of this benefit, which rose a massive fifty per cent over the last decade.  It doesn't justify any lurid claims about draconian cuts in the benefit or scaremongering about a large proportion of people losing their entitlement to it.

Second, there is a consultation on the criteria for the Personal Independence Payment which will replace Disability Living Allowance to ensure the benefit is better targeted on those who need it most, is less vulnerable to fraud, and supports people in the right way.  That consultation is still ongoing and has been extended to the end of August.

Finally on all the examples given by Neil Coyle of how people would lose out without the Disability Living Allowance.  All this really proves is that people would really suffer if this benefit were withdrawn entirely.  But given that isn't happening, given that spending is set to rise even after adjusting for inflation, it is simply scaremongering to frame all your questions to people in terms of how they would cope if it did.  Disability campaigners need to keep their rhetoric responsible or their campaigns will look partisan rather than disinterested representation of the real interests of their members.

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