Personal Independence Payment: Regulations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:01 pm on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 5:01 pm, 29th March 2017

If Members will allow me, I will turn to the regulations—I will not repeat the statistics that show that PIP is more favourable than DLA for those with a mental health condition. Let me tackle the issues relating to the regulations.

Several Members have concluded that if someone is suffering from psychological distress, that would not count towards their score and they would somehow be prevented from scoring the maximum on the descriptors. That is not the case. As time is tight, perhaps I could place some case studies in the Library if that is in order, Mr Speaker. As has been pointed out, if someone is suffering from autism, PTSD, depression or a similar condition, they can score 12 points on that descriptor.

Let me cover the issues on process. We have used the most appropriate parliamentary procedure. It is set out in the Welfare Reform Act 2012. In the light of the significant and urgent consequences of the judgments, the amendments were passed to the Social Security Advisory Committee on 8 March—that is, after the regulations were laid. We have welcomed the Committee’s response and the fact that it did not wish to have the regulations referred to it for public consultation. We have also responded in full to the Committee’s recommendations. In particular, we have made it clear that we are committed to continuous improvement, as we recognise that it is important, for both quality and consistency, to ensure that PIP policy is clearly articulated. We have also made it clear that we will ensure that healthcare professionals who carry out the assessments fully understand what those amendments mean. The regulations were today passed by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.

In the seconds I have left, I reassure the House that the regulations simply restore the original aim of the policy, as previously debated, and that we are delivering PIP in line with its original intent. We stress again that the changes will not result in claimants seeing a reduction in the amount of PIP awarded by the Department.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

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