The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have written an open letter (below) to the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP expressing their concerns about the consultation period for the recently published Health and Disability Green Paper.
The Green Paper was published on the 20 July 2021, following a two year wait, but the Government are only providing the standard 12 week consultation timeframe for feedback, leaving many disabled people without time to respond fully or even at all.
This is why we are calling on the Government to extend the consultation period of the Green Paper by six weeks, to ensure that this crucial feedback to its proposals can be properly heard.
Dear Mr Tomlinson
RE: Health and Disability Green Paper consultation
We are writing on behalf of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), a national coalition of over 100 charities and organisations working towards a fairer Social Security system and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), regarding the publication of the Health and Disability Green Paper and its short consultation period.
Disabled people and the organisations that work with them are very disappointed that not only was the Health and Disability Green Paper published just before the Summer break, but that the consultation period is the standard time frame. By definition, this time frame does not make reasonable adjustments that disabled people need. In a recent survey by Z2K, over 1420 people with experience of the benefits assessment process were asked about their views on the what was then upcoming Health and Disability Green Paper. The research showed that:
-88 per cent of people are either “not at all confident” (67 per cent) or “not so confident” (21 per cent) that the Government will use the feedback they receive during this Green Paper consultation to make changes to the assessment process for benefits
-74 per cent of people think Government won’t listen to the changes people who have been through the assessment process themselves want to see made to the assessment process for benefits
This announcement has only further fuelled those concerns and disappointment.
The Department has expressed its commitment to engaging meaningfully with disabled people and disabled people’s organisations (DPO), however, this timeframe puts those people in a position where they are either not able to respond in time, not going to be able to respond properly, or do not have time to engage with the people they work with in developing their responses. This will severely impinge upon your ability to pay due regard to the impact on disabled people of the proposals outlined in the paper.
You will appreciate this is a crucial opportunity for disabled people, and the organisations that work with them, to be able to feed into the Government’s work on improving the social security system.
This Government’s 2019 manifesto set out the commitment to empower and support disabled people and be an ally –therefore we urge you to extend the time period by an additional six weeks to ensure the very people impacted by the policies being consulted on in this Green Paper, are able to respond to it.
Disabled People’s Organisations Representative, on behalf of Disability Benefits Consortium
CEO, Inclusion Barnet
On behalf of Disabled People Against Cuts