Based on our research: Unlocking Poverty in Greater Manchester



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A Response to the Government’s Consultation Exercise on Social Security Reform
By the Greater Manchester Welfare Rights Advisers Group

Based on our research: Unlocking Poverty in Greater Manchester


- Towards Fairness in Benefits for Incapacity and Disability

January 1999



Greater Manchester Welfare Rights Advisers Group (GMWRAG) is a forum of welfare rights and other organisations across Greater Manchester. Its membership of includes a diverse range of advice, voluntary and disability organisations, health support groups and other advocacy organisations.
Our research project in Summer 1998 formed the basis for a detailed submission to the Government’s consultation on its March 1998 Green Paper on Social Security Reform. It reflected widespread concerns regarding the nature and operation of benefit tests for incapacity and disability. It included a critique of the proposals outlined within the Green Paper in terms of how they would impinge upon the lives of disabled people and mental health care users.
We made 13 key policy recommendations on the following topics:

  • Incapacity Benefit

  • Disability Living Allowance

  • New Deal for Disabled People

  • Methods of removing barriers to work for disabled people and mental health care users

  • Civil Rights for Disabled People.


In the attached submission, we have examined the Government’s latest proposals in the light of our earlier recommendations.
Other features of the new proposals have caused considerable concern. In particular, the restrictions on Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance amount to a major attack on living standards for a large number of people on low incomes. We find these cuts unjustified and damaging. We know that you are receiving several detailed criticisms on this aspect.
Finally, we call for the Government to formally publish the submissions it receives. The failure to do so following the Green Paper consultation up to July 1998 undermined confidence and credibility.
We hope this information is of help, and look forward to your response.
Yours sincerely,



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