Blackpool MP urges Government to think again over disabled benefits

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden has urged the government to think again about disabled benefits after damning reports over its record.

Friday, 1st September 2017, 4:10 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:27 pm
Gordon Marsden

The United Nations this week said the UK was failing to protect rights of disabled people and said austerity measures were hitting the most vulnerable in society.

And a freedom of information request revealed that the Government has wasted nearly £40m of taxpayers money via the DWP fighting appeal tribunal decisions over the controversial Personal Independence Payments which have replaced many disability benefits.

The assessments for PIP are contracted out to private companies Atos and Capita who in April had been paid £578m since PIP launched in 2013.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Marsden said: “Overall a very worrying picture is being painted.

“ There are significant numbers of people struggling with PIP not just individual cases, hundreds here in Blackpool alone, which show something has to be done.

People are having their lives blighted by the way this legislation has been administered, reducing people’s abilities to support themselves in the proper manner. The Government has moved the goal posts over tribunals.

“It now has a chance to think again.

“The other aspect is that years of cuts has weakened the legal services that disabled people could have called upon to support them.

“And the Government has been spending huge sums of money on lawyers to oppose these tribunal appeals.”

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said they had been called in on 400,000 queries in the past year.