by Danielle Rowley MP
Last week I joined colleagues in the House of Commons to debate disability assessments. It was a fiery debate – with the Minister responsible refusing to allow other members to ask her questions. I spoke about the experiences my constituents have had with their assessments – leaving feeling embarrassed and dehumanised, and often with an incorrect result.
How many times do we have to see botched Tory welfare reforms unfairly penalise vulnerable people? Time and time again it is the vulnerable and disabled who are left destitute as the Tories roll the dice with people’s economic security.
My office deals with many cases for people who have had the help they so desperately need swept away by the tide of bureaucracy in the name of ‘reforms.’ The shift from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) is a standout example of this. I represent over 3400 PIP dependent people in Midlothian.
If you have never had to fill in a PIP assessment form, it is hard to imagine how complicated and inefficient the process is. The wording of questions is extremely vague; leading applicants to incorrectly identify the struggles they face. Sadly, the overriding feeling from my constituents is that the PIP application process is designed to catch them out, not to provide them with the support they need.
The fact that 71% of claimants were successful in appealing their decision shows that the application process is not up to scratch. Many of those that are forced to appeal are left waiting months with no support. The cost to the Government of appealing these decisions was reported to have topped £100m earlier this year, a staggering waste of money.
Labour are the party of equality and diversity, and the next Labour government will stand with and for disabled people across the country.