In a Westminster debate today two local people’s terrible experiences were raised.
The Coalition started to change some help for disabled people in 2013 and introduced Personal Independence Payments (PIPs). Coalition MPs voted to order DWP to make changes to axe almost £3 billion from the help disabled people receive.
Administratively, the implementation of PIPs has been a disaster and the impact on disabled people and their families severe. I wrote about the backlog, delays and rising costs of PIPs for Left Foot Forward here.
Many people are still falling through the safety net that this benefit is supposed to provide. The two local examples raised in Parliament today were:
Malcolm lives in Walworth and applied for PIP when diagnosed with cancer in early 2014. He is still waiting for an assessment despite DWP setting a 16 week maximum wait time limit by the end of 2014. IDS’ reverse-Midas touch has severely affected Malcolm who has had to fork out for travel to and from medical appointments amongst other higher costs.
Kath lives in Surrey Docks. Her daughter has autism and was told by DWP she needed to be assessed for PIP when she turned 15. Kath was assessed to receive PIP payments on her daughter’s behalf. But no assessment for PIP was undertaken on her daughter who turned 16 and the family were told to reapply for DLA instead. The costs of DWP taking this approach are being examined further – although the anxiety and pressure on families is just as important.
Malcolm’s circumstances were raised by Teresa Pearce MP. Kath’s were raised by Kate Green MP. Both MPs are Labour. Our current Lib Dem MP did not participate in the debate. It is an extraordinary disappointment for local people when their Lib Dem MP, Mr Hughes, votes for Tory measures affecting them, but then have their cases raised by other MPs in Westminster.
It is time we had an MP standing up for local people. Protecting local people from the worst excesses of Tory cuts to disabled people should be a given for the Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP. But Hughes failed. But he has also failed to pick up the pieces for constituents when his policies have affected them.
Tell me below if you have been affected by Lib Dems supporting Tory policies - and if you agree with me that people with cancer should be exempt from benefit cuts.