1 in 25 claiming higher rate DLA in East Londonderry

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Around one in 25 people living in Limavady are claiming the higher rate ‘mobility component’ of Disability Living Allowance, new figures show.

The ‘mobility component’ of DLA is paid at two rates, a higher weekly rate of £54.05 and a lower weekly rate of £20.55.

The figures had been requested by East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell, who spoke to the Sentinel recently about a substantial rise in the proportion of people receiving disability living allowance, both in the local constituency area and across Northern Ireland.

Between 2002 and 2011, the percentage of people in the local East Londonderry constituency claiming disability living allowance (DLA) increased significantly.

In 2002, 6.6 per cent of the population of the East Londonderry parliamentary constituency, which covers Limavady and much of the surrounding area, were receiving disability living allowance. This figure increased every year until 2011, by which time 8.7 per cent of the population were ‘on the DLA.’

In fact, across Northern Ireland and in every single parliamentary constituency area, the proportion of the population receiving DLA increased significantly from 2002 until December 31, 2011 – the most recent date figures are available for.

Now, DUP MP and MLA Gregory Campbell has asked the Minister for Social Development: “To detail the total number of people who were in receipt of the Higher Rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance; and ratio of recipients to population, in each constituency on December 31, 2011.”

There were 4,030 people claiming the higher rate ‘mobility component’ of DLA in the East Londonderry constituency on December 31, 2011, out of a population of 97,200. This means 4.1 per cent of the total population of East Londonderry were claiming the higher rate.

Speaking to the Sentinel about a large increase in the proportion of the population claiming some form of DLA in the past ten years, the local MP said: “My view is, particularly when we are talking about a high degree of welfare dependency, that the people who are most in need of it, rely on it and deserve it continue to get it.

“While in East Londonderry there has been a significant increase it is actually quite low in comparison with some areas. In West Belfast, it is around one in five of the population.”

He continued by asking: “If the increase continues for another ten years, will we reach the stage where half the population is claiming DLA?”