EMMA LEWELL-BUCK MP: This week began with a new level of cruelty from the Government

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This week began with a new level of cruelty from the Government creating fear and despair for people who have a physical or mental health condition or disability and claim Personal Independence Payments (PIP) so that they can live and get by.

The Prime Minister once again showed how out of touch he is when he claimed it is only people with genuine claims who should get PIP and that claimants should be incentivised to work.

Adding he wants to end the ‘sick note generation’, when only 0.02% of the 3.5 million people claiming PIP have made a fraudulent claim and PIP is given regardless of employment status, it is not an unemployment benefit.

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But he is only the Prime Minister – how is he expected to know this?!

The Government proposes to stop regular PIP payments and replace them with one-off grants and vouchers.The Government proposes to stop regular PIP payments and replace them with one-off grants and vouchers.
The Government proposes to stop regular PIP payments and replace them with one-off grants and vouchers.

The Government’s announcement proposes to stop regular PIP payments and replace them with one-off grants and vouchers. We saw how well that went with food vouchers in the pandemic…

The idea behind the changes is to incentivise people to work, yet many people claiming PIP are already in work. There are millions of disabled people in work who without PIP would likely have to leave the workforce.

As anyone who lives on PIP will know, this welfare payment does not allow a frivolous lifestyle, but instead is a lifeline which despite the nasty rhetoric from this Government is a very difficult claim to access. The process is dehumanising, overly bureaucratic and can take months.

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Fixing the underlying issues facing disabled people and offering properly funded support services to those who need it is the key to reducing reliance on PIP. The DWP itself spends £350 million in a year fighting appeals from claimants when the success rate of those who appeal PIP decisions is around 70%.

This Government have always treated disabled people as an afterthought, they are always the hardest hit, it is little wonder that the UN found “grave and systemic” violations of the UN disability convention seven years ago – and is making “no significant progress” today.

No significant progress is putting it mildly, it is going backwards.