Personal Independence Payment: Regulations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:40 pm on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Chair, International Development Committee, Chair, International Development Committee 4:40 pm, 29th March 2017

I congratulate my hon. Friend Debbie Abrahams on securing the debate and reaffirm her points about how disappointing it is that the Government did not find time for a debate and a vote on these regulations before they come into force. I would say to the Government that it does not reflect well on this House and on the Government as regards public trust on our proceedings if we do not conduct these debates and votes before such significant regulations come into force.

As others have said, we know that disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people. PIP helps to level the financial playing field between disabled and non-disabled people. I represent a constituency with a significant level of poverty where 3,410 people are in receipt of PIP. We have all received representations from a range of third sector organisations about this assessment process and we have all seen, as I have in my constituency, the impact of how the assessment process works.

I want to highlight two organisations I work with. One is the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and I am pleased to be patron of its Merseyside branch. Its analysis shows that over the three years from 2013 to 2016, the proportion of people with MND who saw their award reduced as they moved from DLA to PIP was 13%. This is a condition that by its nature is both progressive and terminal. When I spoke to the MNDA this morning, I was told that the organisation wanted me to raise the quality of assessments in the debate because it believes that the poor quality of assessments has contributed to the issues mentioned today.