Last week I took part in a debate on PIP. Many of you will know that on 5th June 2015, the High Court ruled that the Government’s delays in decisions about Personal Independence Payment (PIP) awards to people with disabilities was ‘not only unacceptable but was also illegal’; the 2 people whose cases that were reviewed by the High Court had waited 10 and 13 months for a decision. How the Government was expecting them to manage in the meantime is a mystery.
It was clear from this debate that there is no remorse from the Government. I still find it hard to comprehend their injustice and inhumanity. It is estimated that 602,000 people currently receiving Disability Living Allowance will not be eligible for PIP.
By 2018, £24bn will have been cut from 3.7m disabled people as a result of earlier welfare ‘reforms’. And that’s without the much trailed £12bn cuts to welfare in next month’s budget.
My surgery has dealt with a number of cases on PIP and other social security matters. In addition to the inappropriate sanctioning of claimants which I campaigned against in the last Parliament, there is evidence of a culture of intimidation and general hassling of claimants on JSA, ESA and DLA/PIP. The delays are just another way of making people ‘give up’.
If there is one message I would like to get across it is that this could be YOU (or me)! We could become ill, or have an accident and become disabled, or lose our jobs and then we’d rely on our welfare system [read my speech on Amanda a former teacher who got breast cancer and what she went through].
We should be proud not just of our NHS but of all parts of our welfare system. This is what a wealthy, humane society such as the UK should do for it’s citizens. Yes, there will always be people who misuse the system but they are a tiny, tiny minority and not as the Government always tries to imply the majority. The evidence just doesn’t support them. Quite frankly I don’t know how they sleep at night with the misery they are causing.
I have secured an hour long Westminster Hall debate on the Government’s Welfare Reforms and people with disabilities on Tuesday 30th June from 4.30-5.30pm and I will be raising these issues and more with Ministers again.