Driven to despair by mobility cuts

Domonic Chadwick, who was paralysed in an accident in Thailand, has started driving lessons using a specially-adapted car.
Domonic Chadwick, who was paralysed in an accident in Thailand, has started driving lessons using a specially-adapted car.
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DISABLED people across the Fylde coast could have their freedom taken away due to cuts.

The mobility allowance, which is given to disabled people to help them afford cars, is in danger of being scrapped by the Government.

Members of organisations working to provide help and support today urged ministers to re-think their proposals, as it could see the most severely disabled lose up to £50 a week.

Margaret Wilson, service development for Lancashire Mind – the leading mental health charity for England and Wales – works closely with the disabled and is worried.

She said: “If the allowance is scrapped, or if they raise the bar and make the criteria more strict, it will have a great affect on people and will make people feel trapped in their homes.”

Mrs Wilson says the proposed cuts have caused anxiety levels to rise among those Mind supports because uncertainty has been cast over what is being taken away.

She added: “It will always have an impact and what I’m seeing at the moment is people panicking.”

“The Government can’t reassure everybody about what cuts are going to be made, but the more information that is put out will be helping to reassure people.

“If we can see the changes we can plan for them.”

The mobility payment is part of the Disability Living Allowance and costs the State £12bn a year.

Fears over its future were raised after a review was ordered as part of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Domonic Chadwick, 25, from North Shore, is paralysed from the chest down after breaking his neck in Thailand two years ago. He has relied on the mobility allowance since to gain an element of independence.

He recently bought a modified Honda Civic, allowing him to drive to Southport and play wheelchair rugby, and the money he receives from the Government has paid for the car’s tax and insurance.

The former sports student described the impact of having the payment taken away as a “nightmare”.

He said: “I would be unable to drive myself to play sports in Southport and without anyone to drive me I would be stuck.

“I’m quite shocked they would take it away from disabled people. I know public transport is accessible, but you always have to get ramps out.”