The latest in a string of potential legal challenges to Government public spending cuts comes from the campaign group Disability Alliance.
A disability rights group is threatening to take the Government to court over benefits cuts.
Disability Alliance said ministers may be in breach of both domestic and European law if they fails to consider the impact on disabled people of plans to cut expenditure on the Disablility Living Allowance (DLA) by more than £2 billion.
The organisation has issued a “letter of claim” to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the issue, saying the Government may have failed to meet its responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The group said in a statement: “The letter is focused on whether the Department can demonstrate that the impact of proposals has been properly analysed by DWP and begins a formal process which may see DWP face full legal proceedings.”
The Alliance is concerned that cuts plans will disproportionately disadvantage disabled people and their families.
The proposals include abolishing low rate care DLA support – received by 652,000 people who the DWP have acknowledged have a genuine disability – and DLA mobility support for disabled care home residents.
But the Government has failed to set out how potential losses in support for the 78,000 people directly affected (and their families) will be offset.
Our legal advice … is that the Government may be in breach of both domestic and European legislation if it fails to consider the impact on disabled people of the plans to cut £2.17 billion from DLA expenditure. Neil Coyle
Neil Coyle, director of policy at the Disability Alliance, said: “We are giving formal notice that unless the concerns that disabled people have legitimately raised are addressed in the context of the Welfare Reform Bill, there is a strong legal case.
“Our legal advice … is that the Government may be in breach of both domestic and European legislation if it fails to consider the impact on disabled people of the plans to cut £2.17 billion from DLA expenditure.
“We have spent the best part of the last year working with Government trying to ensure DWP in particular was aware of the concerns of disabled people.
“All of that year’s worth of work and the formal consultation that the Government opened in December and closed in February has led to no change in the plans, and no real address to the issues that we have put forward, and the potential impact on thousands of disabled people and their families.”
Mr Coyle said more than half of the disabled people who use DLA to support them in work may have to give up work if they lose the benefit.
He added: “For many disabled people, it helps to pay for an adapted vehicle, so if you can’t afford to run a vehicle, and that’s what you’re using DLA for, there’s a strong chance you won’t be able to continue in work.
“One in seven disabled people have been telling us that without DLA they won’t be able to manage their health condition or impairment, and they’re more likely to have hospitalised periods, which cost far more to the taxpayer than paying, for example, £19.55 a week, which is the bit of the DLA expenditure the Government is targeting for ending.”
A DWP spokeswoman said: “We are following the usual processes and are working with disability organisations on DLA reforms, including with the design of the assessment.
“It is premature to talk about a judicial review as the regulations do not go through until 2012.”