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Cash boost for 20,000 blind people

30 November -1

20,000 severely visually impaired people will be entitled to receive the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, announced in the House of Commons yesterday.

From 2011, the real help will support 20,000 severely visually impaired people with additional mobility costs, allowing them greater freedom to get out and about, either socially or to find work. At current rates this will mean an additional payment worth 29 a week to those who qualify (1,508 per year).

James Purnell said:

"This additional money could make a real difference helping people to go out to find a job, for instance having the extra cash to pay for a taxi to a job interview. Whether it is assistance getting out and about socially or to find work, ultimately it will transform the lives of severely visually impaired people and their families.

"The Government has always been supportive of this change so we are delighted that we have been able to include it in our Welfare Reform Bill.

"We are fully committed to making this change happen which will make a real difference to the lives of severely visually impaired people across Great Britain."

Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People, said:

"I know many severely visually impaired people have been waiting to hear this good news and will be very happy with the outcome. The Government has been working closely with the RNIB to make this possible so I'd like to especially thank them for all their support."

The Welfare Reform Bill builds on the White Paper, Raising Expectations and Increasing Support, which was published in December. The Bill will provide the additional powers to ensure that people make use of the help made available to them and maximise their employment prospects for the future.

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