Personal Independence Payment: Regulations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:29 pm on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham 4:29 pm, 29th March 2017

I congratulate my hon. Friend Debbie Abrahams on securing this debate and on the important case she made from the Dispatch Box.

I wish to challenge some of the assertions the Secretary of State has made in commenting on the changes in the regulations since they were announced. I have no doubt that his comments were made in good faith, but I think they were incorrect. In particular, the changes do not restore the original intention of the benefit. The Secretary of State suggested that the changes are not a cut, but they obviously are, and they affect a substantial number of people. The equality analysis produced by the Department tells us that of the current case load, 143,000 people would have had their mobility award reduced to zero had it been made under the new regulations, and that a further 21,000 would have had their payment reduced. This is not, therefore, a minor or insignificant cut; it is a substantial cut that will affect a large number of people.

Table 6 in the equality assessment is titled, “Conditions most likely affected by reversing effect of UT”—upper tribunal—“judgment on mobility activity 1”, and the list includes schizophrenia, learning disability, autism, cognitive disorder due to stroke, dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the Government, those are the people most affected.