Welfare Reform Bill debate

Waveney MP Peter Aldous spoke in a debate on the Welfare Reform Bill on 15th June in the House of Commons, highlighting the importance of the Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance.

Aldous made particular reference to residents of Shaftsbury Court Residential Home in Lowestoft who are reliant on the mobility component for visits to day centres, journeys to colleges and social outings to the cinema, bingo and local sports centres. He also made the point that it would also impact on visits to the family home.

Commenting after the Debate, Mr Aldous said:

“Whilst there is clearly the need to reform the welfare system the Government must be sure that particularly vulnerable groups such as the disabled residents in Waveney are not impacted. I am pleased that the Minister is reviewing the legislation and look forward to hearing proposals to ensure disabled people are still able to get out and live an active life which is so important to everyone, whether disabled or not.”


Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): I will be brief, Mr Deputy Speaker, as I know that others wish to catch your eye, and so I shall not take interventions. I am reassured by what the Minister said about the mobility component, but I should emphasise that its proposed withdrawal has caused a lot of worry and anxiety in my constituency. Residents of Shaftesbury Court residential home in Lowestoft are heavily reliant on the mobility component and if it had been simply withdrawn a number of disabled and vulnerable people would effectively have been confined to Shaftesbury Court. Visits to day centres and journeys to colleges would have been a thing of the past for them, and social outings to the cinema, bingo and local sports centres would no longer have been possible.

In addition, visits to the family home would have been increasingly difficult. Not all the residents of Shaftesbury Court come from the Lowestoft area. Some come from further afield, including Ipswich, which is 45 miles away, Canvey island, which is 103 miles away, and even Kent. Such home visits invariably take place only once or twice a year and are very important to the residents and their families, and the removal of the mobility component would have made it very difficult for them to continue. I have heard it said that the local authority or the care home operator would have stepped into the gap and taken on those responsibilities, but under the existing contract at Shaftesbury Court, there is no obligation on either party to do so. Suffolk county council does not have the funds to provide those services and Sanctuary Care, which runs the home, does not have the staff, resources or vehicles to take on the role.

A further issue that needs to be considered, which the Minister touched on, is how Motability would deal with any change for people who currently use their mobility component to purchase a vehicle. This is a complex area and I do not believe that the Government intend to penalise a particularly vulnerable group of people. I am reassured by what the Minister said and I look forward to learning the results of the review, but I urge her not to let down the residents, families and carers of those at Shaftesbury Court.

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Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

Next Surgeries - 2018: 
Beccles, Saturday 7th July
Lowestoft, Wednesday 25th July



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