People with a disability are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people as a result of additional associated costs, and Personal Independent Payments (PIP) is a key source of income to prevent real hardship. But last week the government changed the rules on PIP.
By shifting the goal posts, the government will strip entitlements from over 160,000 disabled people and people with chronic mental health conditions, money which an independent tribunal believe is rightfully theirs.
Some claimants will not be able to access the full support they are entitled to – an effective cut worth £3.7bn.
Labour have been fighting these PIP regulations since they were sneaked out at the end of February. Now more than 30 disability charities have written to ministers urging them not to restrict access to PIP, echoing Labour’s calls not to go ahead with these draconian changes.
The government refused to listen to the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) who, like the charities and disabled people’s organisations, they failed to consult before introducing these changes.
The government disagreed with all of SSAC’s reasonable recommendations that there should be wider engagement prior to any changes and that these proposals should be tested before implemented.
Campaigners have also said people with mental health conditions need to be treated fairly and being properly supported to live full and independent lives.
These changes would create a legal distinction between mental health problems and other kinds of impairments when it comes to assessments. So much for parity of esteem.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s Labour Leader, said:
“The government needs to know that enough is enough.
Proposals completely go against the government’s commitment to putting mental health on an equal footing with physical health.
More can, and must, be done to support disabled people to live full and independent lives.
I urge ministers to think again about these new regulations which will leave thousands of people with a disability without any financial support”.
You can show your support for this campaign by signing Labour’s petition calling on the government’s new regulations not to be implemented.