MP wins fight to give blind people more cash help

May 18, 2009 12:42 PM

David Howarth and bannerCambridge MP David Howarth is celebrating victory after the government agreed a move which will give the city's blind and partially sighted people more cash.

Mr Howarth has been pushing for changes to the Welfare Reform Bill which would make people with severe sight loss eligible for a higher rate mobility payment through the Disability Living Allowance.

Now the government has agreed an amendment to the Bill which, once introduced, will bring in the change.

"This is excellent news," said Mr Howarth. "This extra payment from the government will make a big difference to these people's lives.

"Now they have the chance to be independently mobile which is so important to prevent them from becoming isolated."

Mr Howarth visited Cambridge's Cam Sight charity last autumn to hear first hand the problems people face when their sight fails and gave his backing to the campaign for a fairer deal for blind people launched by the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

He also signed a Commons' motion which recognised support for the idea from both opposition parties and urged the government to reach a prompt resolution.

The news of the change came in a letter from James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

He said: "I am delighted to say that the government has now underlined its existing commitment to this important change. The Bill is now making its passage through the Lords."

"This decision was long overdue," added Mr Howarth. "These people were clearly being discriminated against and this amendment has the power to give them back their independence."

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