Everyone should have the support to achieve their full potential and to live independent lives. This means ensuring that opportunity is extended to people with disabilities, further closing the disability gap.
But this does not mean that support for the most vulnerable will be cast aside. This is because the reforms have seen support for disabled people increase. The Government is now, rightly, spending £50 billion on benefits alone to support people with disabilities and health conditions, devoting a high level of resources to an important group of people. Spending on those with disabilities or health conditions will be higher in every year to 2020 than in 2010.
PIP was introduced to be a more modern and dynamic benefit to help cover the extra costs faced by disabled people. Unlike Disability Living Allowance (DLA), PIP is designed to focus support on those with the greatest need. It is working. For example, 22% of claimants are receiving the highest level of support, compared to 16% under DLA.
Before Christmas, the Government held a consultation on how part of the PIP assessment works in relation to aids and appliances. Following that consultation, the Government has decided it will not be going ahead with the changes to PIP that had been put forward, and has confirmed there are no plans for further welfare savings. Parliament has already legislated for £12 billion in welfare savings through the Welfare Reform and Work Act, meeting the pledge made to the electorate in our manifesto.
The term disability covers an immensely varied range of issues and people with different challenges in their life. It is therefore a hugely important and hugely complex area of policy to get right.