A DISABILITY activist has won permission to take The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to court over “disingenuous and unlawful” welfare reforms.

Ellen Clifford, a disability activist, has been granted permission to challenge the DWP in court over a consultation on welfare reforms.

The Work Capability Assessment reforms were first consulted on in September 2023, and were presented to help support to help Disabled people into employment.

However, Ellen Clifford’s lawyers argue that the primary motivation appears to be reducing welfare spending.

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The legal challenge also states there was insufficient information provided as part of the consultation to allow those who wanted to respond to understand and comment on the real impact of the proposals.

Under the new reforms, some disabled people would lose up to £390 a month and many would also face sanctions, and potentially risk losing some or all of their benefit payments if they did not comply with the new conditions.

Clifford says this was not made clear during the consultation, which ran for just under eight weeks between September and October 2023, and says deaf and disabled voices are being patronised.

She said: “The Government urgently needs to listen to Deaf and Disabled people before imposing reforms that would change the lives of so many people for the worse.

“This disingenuous and unlawful consultation seems to have been a smokescreen for the Government to save money by cutting benefits.

“It completely skated over the fact that a lot of people will lose £390 a month – that will be devastating for people who already struggle to cover their basic needs.

“In light of other recent proposals to reform Personal Independence Payment and the fit note system, it’s vital that the DWP carries out meaningful and proper consultations.

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“Deaf and Disabled voices should be heard. Instead, our income is being cut and we are told the change is about ‘realising our potential’.”

She added: “This is patronising and insulting.

“As we’ve been granted permission to take the DWP to court, we hope that the Secretary of State abandons any plans to implement the Work Capability Assessment reforms until this legal challenge has concluded and Deaf and Disabled people have been given a proper opportunity to provide their views on the proposals.

“Deaf and Disabled Peoples’ Organisations are completely opposed to these proposed changes.”

Inclusion Scotland aims to achieve positive changes to policy and practice so that disabled people are fully included and are treated equally throughout Scottish society.

CEO for Inclusion Scotland, Heather Fisken, has said the consultation changes were not only flawed but were dangerous.

The chages also continued to stigmatise disabled people and made it harder for them to survive financially.

She said: “This is an important win for Ellen Clifford and Disabled people in Scotland.

“Not only was the public consultation flawed and dangerously misleading but the proposals themselves will inflict severe harm on Disabled people leading to increased pressure on overstretched public services.

“The UK Government's cuts to welfare, dangerous generalisations about mental health, and relentless rhetoric about 'sick note culture' is stigmatising Disabled people leading to declining mental health and even suicide.

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“Nearly two-thirds of people experiencing destitution in the UK were disabled or had long-term health conditions.

“The proposals would only cement that trend, making it increasingly difficult for disabled people to survive financially.

“These attacks have to stop now."