The campaign, which received cross-party backing by MPs, called for blind claimants to receive the same benefits as other disabled people.
Specifically it called for blind and partially sighted claimants to receive the same mobility allowance as those with other disabilities. Previously this payment, which amounts to an additional £29 per week, had been denied them.
The decision will allow around 26,000 people in the UK with severe visual impairment to receive the extra payment in the mobility component of their Disability Living Allowance (DLA), enabling them to get out and about independently and safely.
Bradford North Labour MP Terry Rooney, who was instrumental in gaining the victory, said: “I am delighted that the campaign to get more help to blind people has been successful.
“When this is introduced this change will transform the lives of blind people and their families. It can mean people are able to go out to meet friends, to get a job and to live life the way most of us take for granted.”
Bradford campaigner Imtiaz Naqvi said: “We are overjoyed at the news.
“It has been a long, hard campaign but thanks to a lot of hard work and support we have successfully achieved our aim. I have spoken to my colleagues and they were absolutely delighted.
“£29 is only a small amount of money but it will make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people and give them a lot more independence.
“It means that blind and partially sighted people will be able to get out more, go to their GP, or visit community centres and friends. We have had immense support and the Government has been pressured into this decision by MPs and campaigners.”
Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief exec-utive of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, said: “It is a fantastic victory for people with severe visual impairment and for everybody who has supported the campaign to end this long standing injustice.”
Bradford Telegraph & Argus, 18th March 2009