Need for a pause on PIP and Welfare Reform Bill

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Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow has joined the heads of other NGOs and charities in an appeal for a rethink on welfare reform legislation. The open letter, published in the Guardian newspaper, reads as follows:

"We are calling on the government to pause the welfare reform bill and carefully consider its reform of the DLA. The bill is now in the final stages, but the details of how the reform would affect disabled people has not been fully investigated. Last week the Responsible Reform report showed worrying evidence that the decision to reduce DLA expenditure by 20 per cent may have been based on incomplete or misleading data about the reasons for growth in DLA. It has now been revealed that the proposed changes will lead to 500,000 disabled people no longer being eligible for this benefit.

"Independent surveys carried out by some of the signatories to this letter have shown that cuts to DLA will force more disabled people into poverty, which is likely to increase the burden on the NHS and social care system in the long run. Such a potentially risky change in policy should not be taken forward without a robust and accurate evidence base, and the support of disabled people and the experts in this field.

Signed by:

Matthew Lester Director of Operations, Papworth Trust
Dr Mark Baker Head of social research and policy, Action on Hearing Loss
Stefania Rulli-Gibbs Brandon Trust
Steven Rose Chair, Campaign for a Fair Society
Neil Coyle Director of policy and campaigns, Disability Rights UK
Paul Swann Disability Wales
Simon Barrow Co-director, Ekklesia
Shaun Williams Director of corporate affairs, Leonard Cheshire Disability
Nick Rijke Director of policy and research, MS Society
Tom Madders Head of campaigns, National Autistic Society
Paul Jenkins CEO, Rethink Mental Illness
Steve Winyard Head of campaigns, RNIB
Sue Brown Head of public policy, Sense
Jo Clare Chief executive, Three Cs
Su Sayer Chief executive, United Response
Mrs Gabby Machell CEO, The Westminster Society