Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:06 pm on 8th September 2022.

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Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade) 3:06 pm, 8th September 2022

I thank the former Minister for his intervention, and I would say two things. First, the principle in Scotland was to ensure that it was not a DWP operative or contracted-out person who made the decision, but clinicians and health professionals. This is not a particularly party political issue, but I said that I would give a voice to the frustrations of people of all political persuasion, and none, who have struggled and suffered through this process, and that is what I am doing. I will always work to try to get a problem ironed out, should a problem exist, but I am not faced with the same content in my mailbag that I had in previous years due to difficulties with the DWP.

Like other Departments, the DWP is barely functioning at the moment, so there is real work for the new Secretary of State and Minister to get into. Staff from offices across the Chamber cannot get answers for our constituents, and the situation is even worse for colleagues in local citizens advice bureaux. People living with terminal illness face housing and fuel poverty on top of the rising costs that come with having to live with a chronic health condition: they have to stay in and heat their houses because they have to be as well as possible in those houses. People living with terminal illness face many ongoing issues, and they, like millions of households across the nations of the UK, are being failed if that is not heard. The Government must listen to those demands to treat dying people with dignity and respect and ensure that more people do not die stressful deaths in poverty due to inaction.