Personal Independence Payment: Regulations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:44 pm on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 3:44 pm, 29th March 2017

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered changes to Personal Independence Payment Regulations.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting this vital debate on the new personal independence payment regulations. Although I welcome the opportunity to debate this issue, it is highly regrettable that the Government have had to be dragged to the House to be held to account for this nasty piece of secondary legislation.

As the House will know, the Government have ignored two urgent questions on this matter, an early-day motion signed by 179 Members calling for these punitive regulations to be annulled, and a 38 Degrees petition, signed by more than 185,000 people, asking them not to make the changes. When pushed at business questions on Thursday, the Leader of the House said there would be a debate, but could not say when. Only late last night did it become clear that the debate has now been hastily scheduled for 19 April. What particular kind of arrogance or disregard for democracy are the Government revealing? This does not bode well for their accountability to this place in the future negotiations.

For the record, we should note that today’s debate does not allow for a substantive vote on the regulations. As the Government have failed to allow a debate before the EDM praying-against period comes to an end on 3 April, the regulations will not be automatically revoked, should the House vote against them on 19 April. I would be grateful to the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work if she explained why, given that we have risen early twice this week, the Government have been incapable of finding time for such a debate before the Easter recess. The Government are hoping that because they have delayed the debate, the objection to the regulations will be kicked into the long grass, but it will not be.