My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall repeat as a Statement an Answer given to an Urgent Question in another place by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on personal independence payments. The Statement is as follows:
“Recent legal judgments have interpreted the assessment criteria for PIP in ways that are different from what was originally intended by the coalition Government. We are therefore now making amendments to clarify the criteria used to decide how much benefit claimants receive in order to restore the original aim of the policy, as previously agreed by Parliament, which followed extensive consultation.
I want to be clear about what this is not. This is not a policy change, nor is it intended to make new savings. I would like to reiterate my commitment that there will be no further welfare savings beyond those already legislated for. It will not result in any claimant seeing a reduction in the amount of PIP previously awarded by the DWP.
Mental health conditions and physical disabilities which lead to higher costs will continue to be supported, as has always been the case. This Government are committed to ensuring that our welfare system provides a strong safety net for those who need it. That is why we spend around £50 billion a year supporting people with disabilities and health conditions and why we are investing more in mental health than ever before, spending a record £11.4 billion a year.
Personal independence payments are part of that support and provide support towards the additional costs that disabled people face. At the core of PIP’s design is the principle that support should be made according to need, rather than a certain condition, whether physical or non-physical. It is also designed to focus more support on those who are likely to have higher costs associated with their disability. PIP works better than DLA for those with mental health conditions. For example, there are more people with mental health conditions receiving the higher rates of PIP than under the old DLA system”.
That concludes the Statement.