Blind people deserve more

PUBLISHED: 02:01 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:21 15 June 2010

Many people in this area supported the RNIB campaign to allow people with severe sight loss to claim the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. The government is now in the process of making its decision about whether or not to ma

Many people in this area supported the RNIB campaign to allow people with severe sight loss to claim the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. The government is now in the process of making its decision about whether or not to make these changes; it could go either way; the changes could be made and there is strong support from DWP Ministers, but as we all, know, the Government is under significant financial pressures.Whilst they make their decision we need to ensure that they are reminded just how strongly people in this area feel about this issue. It is absolutely vital. We cannot allow them to delay making this decision nor can we let them think we will just "go away". We must go on fighting until they make the right decision, until they put right this injustice.I know that some blind people (who cannot drive and in many cases find it impossible to use public transport) are missing vital hospital appointments and job opportunities because the Benefit they receive doesn't cover the cost of taxis.On a day-to-day basis, not being able to get about independently stops many blind people from doing basic things like getting their own shopping, meeting up with friends and joining local clubs. This has a massive impact on the quality of people's lives.I support the Royal National Institute of the Blind's campaign calling for a change to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - a State Benefit that currently allows people with other disabilities who can drive,to claim it. The higher "mobility rate" is worth £46.75 per week. People with serious sight loss are only eligible to claim the lower rate of just £17.75 per week. I have written to our MP, Mrs Angela Browning, to ask for her support for the many people in this constituency who could benefit from this change. She is very supportive and has raised the matter with the Minister for the Disabled, so he recognises that this situation is unfair, unacceptable and discriminates against blind people.If any other readers of your newspaper would like more information about the campaign, they can contact RNIB on 020 7391 2096.Together, by writing hundreds of letters to MPs the Minister for Disabled People and the Secretary of State, we have made sure that MPs and the Government understand just how important it is that people with severe sight loss are able to claim the higher rate of mobility component of DLA. More MPs signed the Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2006 calling on the Government to look at this issue than had ever before signed an EDM on an issue affecting blind people.On October 15, MPs have an opportunity to lobby again at the Houses of Parliament between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. It is hoped that as many blind people as possible will support this event, and afterwards meet with their MPs.ANNE DECENTSaddler's Lane Ottery St Mary


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