What was the confusion at PMQ's over Disability Living Allowance mobility component?

24 March 2011

"Will the Prime Minister explain why he proposes to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance from 80,000 care home residents?" Ed Miliband.

"The short answer is that we are not." David Cameron.

"Not for the first time, I have to tell the Prime Minister what is in his own legislation: clause 83 of the Welfare Reform Bill proposes precisely that and people do not understand why he is doing it." Ed Miliband.

The review of disability living allowance and the mobility component is wrapped up in the new personal independence payment. That is what is happening." David Cameron.

At this week's Prime Minister Questions, Ed Miliband and David Cameron appeared to be reading from different pieces of legislation on the issue of changes to the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for care home residents.

Ed Miliband claimed that that the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was to be removed, asking the Prime Minister to explain the change. Following PMQ's, Anne Begg, Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee tweeted: "PM said govt weren't removing Mob DLA from those in residential care. But Welfare Bill and budget Red Book say it is!!" 

The 2011 Budget does signal an end in spending for the mobility component of DLA from 2013/14 onwards; a delay of one year from what was proposed in the 2010 Spending Review.

The Budget Policy Costings Report explains that: "At the 2010 Spending Review the Government announced it would remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from care home residents, to remove overlapping provision in the funding of mobility support. As set out in the 2010 Welfare Bill, this change will not take place in October 2012, and the Government is reviewing changes after 2013."

However, while the Welfare Reform Bill proposes to end the current framework of mobility payments, the reforms are seeking to combine mobility payment into a new benefits package, which may mean that mobility payments are not being scrapped outright, as suggested by Ed Miliband.

The DWP states that: "The DLA mobility component for those in care homes will be retained until March 2013, and any subsequent changes will be rolled into the design of the new Personal Independence Payment."

What is still unclear and causing confusion is how mobility payments will be calculated under the new Personal Independence Payment method, and whether claimants will experience a fall in their funding settlement.

With overall changes to DLA projected to see payments reduced by an overall £2.17 billion by 2015/16, there will clearly be people receiving less under the new system, although we do not know yet where these cuts will fall.


Both Ed Miliband and Anne Begg are strictly speaking right to say that the mobility component of DLA for care home residents will be abolished under current plans.

At the same time, however, David Cameron is also right to point out that the DLA mobility component will be included within a new Personal Independence Payment, currently in review. 

However, a level of confusion remains around the changes. Indeed, until the review into Personal Independence Living Payments is complete and guidelines are published, we will not know how the new system of payments for mobility will be calculated, who will be eligible for it, and whether anyone currently receiving the care component of DLA will lose out.

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