What steps her Department is taking to support claimants whose mobility awards were (a) reduced and (b) stopped when they moved from disability living allowance to personal independence payment.
Let me answer the hon. Gentleman’s question and provide an important update on the Government’s work with Motability.
When PIP was first introduced, the Government worked with Motability to design a £175 million transitional support package to support Motability scheme customers who have not been awarded the enhanced mobility component on reassessment from DLA to PIP. Motability announced today that it would provide substantial additional financial support, including £1,000 for customers who lose eligibility for the scheme as a result of a PIP reassessment. It will also fund grants for personal contributions to the Access to Work scheme, and will accelerate the programme that is being undertaken with Family Fund to help many more families with severely disabled children under the age of three. I pay tribute to the proactive and constructive work done by Motability Operations in further supporting disabled people in society.
Notwithstanding what the Minister has said, some 52% of UK claimants who were claiming a mobility element under DLA found that it was either reduced or stopped altogether when they moved to PIP, and 2,370 people in the highlands have been hit in that way. Obviously, getting around in the highlands is not easy, and access to transport is not easy. Will the Government please look at this issue? My constituents are losing out, and it seems to me extremely unfair that those figures are so high.
Among those who have made the transition from DLA to PIP, an extra 144,000 who did not qualify for the enhanced mobility rate under DLA now do so under PIP. We have continued to work with Motability in respect of the additional transitional support that it has announced, and we will continue to keep a close eye on this important area.
Given the time constraints, it would be helpful to the House if Mrs Latham were to shoehorn her inquiry in the next question into this one.
My constituent Siobhan Fennell spends a great deal of time training local businesses in Belper in how best to accommodate customers with disabilities such as autism and dementia and conditions that cause limited mobility, and she has made a huge difference to the local community. Will my hon. Friend commend her work, especially given that she is in a wheelchair herself? She is passionate about her mission?
I absolutely commend my hon. Friend’s constituent for the work that she does in her community. I also congratulate Ms Fennell on receiving the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours, as well as a national citizenship award in recognition of her work: a true tribute.