Mobility cuts would hit us hard

Alison Smith and her daughter Harriet
Alison Smith and her daughter Harriet
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Changes to mobility support could cost one Daventry mum her car, her job and the ability to drop her daughter off at pre-school she says.

The Government is looking at changing the criteria for those who can claim the higher rate of mobility support under the new Personal Independence Payment.

The new threshold will state that people won’t qualify if they can walk just 20 metres. It is currently 50 metres.

Alison Smith, 29, and from Daventry, suffers from cystic fibrosis and relies on the mobility allowance to get her daughter, Harriet, five, to pre-school seven miles away and drive to work one day a week.

She said: “Harriet already suffers from not having her mummy around when I am admitted to hospital for one to two weeks at a time and the last thing I want to do is ruin her pre-school routine.”

Alison has just over half of the lung function of a normal person, however, she might be one of those to lose out.

She said: “If I lost the money to pay for my car I wouldn’t be able to get to work, get to my hospital appointments or take Harriet to school, in fact it could leave me and Harriet effectively housebound.

“The hospital is nearly 30 miles away and getting a bus there would not only take forever but would be a nightmare in the state I am often in.

“I rely on my car every day, it’s nothing flash – it just gets me from A to B and I really value it. I work one day a week at a children’s group.

“Some days I feel so unwell I dash back from the school run to rest for a few hours. This is the only way I can feel well enough to look after and play with Harriet when she gets back from school.”

Alison takes around 50 tablets each day, undertakes two physiotherapy sessions and attends hospital twice a month. However, this does not include times when she is ill – earlier this month Alison spent a week in hospital because of a lung infection.

She said: “I’m very worried that I’ll lose my mobility allowance if the new scheme comes into place. ”