Disability Assessment Services

Part of Leaving the Eu: Fishing – in Westminster Hall at 5:20 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 5:20 pm, 13th March 2019

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Christopher. I am grateful for the number of Members from across the House and all parts of the country who have come together for the debate. There is a compelling debate going on in the main Chamber, yet many Members chose to prioritise this debate, which is to the great credit of everybody who has participated.

I pay particular tribute to my hon. Friend Gillian Keegan for her passionate, eloquent and well-informed contribution. She was joined by many colleagues who shared examples of the poor treatment that their constituents had faced in going through the assessment services. That is exactly why we made the announcements last week about the transformation of the way that we undertake assessments.

Our approach has been one of wholesale continuous improvement—to the personal independence payment since it was introduced, but also to the work capability assessment, since it was introduced by the Labour Government back in 2008. There have been numerous independent reviews, the Select Committee did an excellent inquiry and the Department has embraced and implemented a great number of recommendations. We are committed to continuous improvement, as Justin Madders asked us to be. I thoroughly agree with him and want to reiterate what he said: we should treat others as we would like to be treated. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, and I can assure him and my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester, who also raised that point, that there is no complacency at all; there is an utter commitment to improvement.