Personal Independence Payments - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:08 pm on 28th February 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Sherlock Baroness Sherlock Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Opposition Senior Whip (Lords) 3:08 pm, 28th February 2017

My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement to the House. I want to concentrate on the judgment on the mobility component of PIP. Despite what the newspapers may have reported, the tribunal ruling does not mean that anyone with mental health problems can get the higher rate of PIP. What it does mean is that assessors cannot arbitrarily ignore all mental health problems when working out whether someone is entitled to the higher rate of PIP to deal with the higher costs that they face. Despite the Minister’s comments, MIND has pointed out that the Explanatory Memorandum for the original Act said that the higher rate was right if someone’s mobility was,

“severely limited by the person’s physical or mental condition”.

If these regulations go through, it seems that someone who is blind and needs help to plan or navigate a journey could get the higher rate of PIP but someone who, for example, has autism or early-onset dementia and could not manage to plan or navigate a journey without help would not be able to get the higher rate of PIP. My question is very simple: how does that sit with the Government’s commitment to parity of esteem between physical and mental health and to the Prime Minister’s promise to tackle the stigma associated with mental health problems?