Today I visited Agate House which is a Leonard Cheshire Home in Ampthill. It cares for the most vulnerable and disabled clients, all of whom receive DLA.
The Government proposes to reform DLA and replace it with a new Personal Independence Payment.
There have been concerns regarding this however; the genuinely sick, disabled and retired have nothing to fear. This Government does not regard caring for those in need as a burden, but as a proud duty.
The Government aims to make PIPs fairer, more straightforward to administer and easier and clearer for individuals to understand.
Whenever there is change, people become concerned and the residents of Agate House made this fantastic video which they posted on You Tube called ‘Don’t Take Away Our DLA’.
I hope I reassured them today that the Government are very aware that the most vulnerable should not be disadvantaged in any way whatsoever or their standard of living made any worse as a result of changes. What we do have to ensure though, is that those people who claim DLA but can work, do so.
The people in Agate House have wonderful stories to tell. A former nurse, now wheelchair bound with MS who used to work in the operating theatre at Great Ormond Street Hospital. A former model who lived a glitzy rock and roll lifestyle that ended overnight. People who have spent their entire life in a wheelchair and who communicate via technology – one lady typed that she looks at the same walls every day. Her DLA is what pays for someone to take her outside of the building, to pay for the transport.
She also typed ‘people don’t see me, they just see a wheelchair’. I saw you. And I know you will read this and I hope that somehow we manage the logistics to get you into the public gallery on the day of the debate when I hope to be called to speak and tell your story.
Thank you so much for your hospitality. Sorry I got some of you out of bed after a late night at the theatre!