Personal Independence Payment: Regulations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:35 pm on 29th March 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Graham Evans Graham Evans Conservative, Weaver Vale 4:35 pm, 29th March 2017

It was a privilege to serve on the Work and Pensions Committee with Debbie Abrahams in the last Parliament.

I wish to focus my speech on two particular areas. First, it is not the case that the Government are using the change as a cost-cutting exercise. Secondly, I will address some of the comments made by Opposition Members on mental health and physical conditions in relation to PIP.

We spend £50 billion every year on benefits—up by £7 billion since 2010—to support people with disabilities and health conditions, so, rather than being subjected to austerity cuts, these benefits have seen an increase in Government spending. That figure is 6% of all Government spending, or 2.5% of GDP. It is significantly more than countries such as France and Germany spend, and higher than the OECD average. It is more than we spend on the defence of the realm.

As I have said, this change is not, as some Members have suggested, a cost-cutting exercise. The Government have made it abundantly clear that they will seek no further savings through welfare in this Parliament. I ask my hon. Friend, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, to reassure the House that she will continue to defend the disability budget.

The changes restore the original aim of the policy by clarifying the assessment criteria to make sure that support is targeted on those who need it the most. Nobody will receive less money than they have previously been awarded. This is not about making savings. PIP was widely consulted and voted on and debated in this House during the coalition Government.