The Campaign’s response to extended period of phasing in of PIP payments
The Campaign for a Fair Society welcomes the recent announcement of the need to take stock & ensure the implementation of Personal Independence Payments adopts a ‘controlled approach to the introduction…continuously testing & reviewing the processes to ensure they are right’ (www.gov.uk).
This is something the Campaign & others within the disability movement have been asking for since the inception of the Welfare Reform Act, 2012. However, we know this pause is related to the practicalities of implementation, rather than the need to look at ‘what is right’. The problems with undertaking the amount of assessments needed by organisations such as ATOS are well documented. Taxpayer’s money seems to be very poorly spent on a system that is not working. ATOS & others are simply not delivering on the targets they put in their tenders for the work. The amount of assessment centres is considerably less than intially proposed & all the while new claimants are suffering unnecessary delays & upset.
Our call for a cumulative impact assessment of changes to welfare & social care remains
The Campaign disputes the argument about the growth in DLA claimants being unsustainable – this is misleading & based on incomplete data. In an ageing population mobility issues will inevitably increase. Incomplete, as there is no account taken of the future costs that will be incurred in health & social care in withdrawing this workbased benefit from hundreds of thousands of individuals. Not investing in ensuring as many people remain as independent as possible will have huge cost implications for the future. We want everyone’s taxes, including those of working disabled people, to be spent in the most efficient ways, leading to long term sustainability in health, social care & welfare.
Eg, the new PIP assessment says if a person can walk more than 20 metres, aided or unaided, they do not need or deserve the highest level of help the state can offer to cover mobility costs.
This 20 metre rule is replacing the qualifying distance of 50 metres used to assess people for Disability Living Allowance. 20 metres for most people will enable them simply to be able to navigate around their own homes. We believe that this policy, if left unchecked, will lead to disabled people dropping out of work & education & lead to increased poverty & isolation, increasing costs in other areas of government spending. We believe such a potentially risky change in policy should not be taken any further forward without a robust & accurate evidence base.