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 Lord Henley Lord Henley Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 3:08 pm, 28th February 2017

My Lords, what the tribunal said was that there was some uncertainty in our regulations, despite the fact—I am sure the noble Baroness will remember this far better than I can, because I was not in this position at the time—that these matters were extensively debated during the passage of the Bill a year or so ago and agreed in Parliament. The tribunal said that there was uncertainty and we are trying to put that right.

The noble Baroness specifically referred to the example of people who are blind in comparison to those with psychological distress. That was a matter considered in one of the two cases that we are dealing with. Mental health conditions are more likely to fluctuate than conditions such as visual impairment or blindness, and people who cannot navigate due to a visual or cognitive impairment are more likely to have a higher level of need and therefore face higher costs. What we are seeking to do, quite simply, is amend the criteria to reinstate the distinction between those two groups, as was originally intended in the order. It is no more than that.