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Boris Johnson attacks planned cuts to disability payments

Mayor of London says Disability Living Allowance proposals could push disadvantaged group into deeper poverty

The pressure on the coalition to reconsider controversial cuts to disability payments increased last night after it emerged the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has placed himself at odds with ministers over a key plank of the welfare reform bill. .

Johnson's response to a consultation on changes to the Disability Living Allowance is critical of planned changes that will see hundreds of thousands of disabled people potentially lose benefits of up to £70 a week for care and mobility expenses.

Johnson is concerned that the changes could lead to financial hardship and social isolation for chronically ill and disabled people, and push an already disadvantaged group deeper into poverty.

His submission states: "While some reform may be necessary … the mayor is concerned that, if the focus of this reform is solely efficiency driven, government may fail to ensure that the needs of disabled people are adequately met."

The Disability Living Allowance is paid to around 3.2 million people, including children, with a wide range of illnesses and disabilities including cancer, spinal injury, mental health problems and learning disability. Campaigners say the payments are vital to enable disabled people to work.

The benefit is typically used to pay for equipment and mobility aids, travel costs and expenses related to specific medical conditions such as special diets.

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