Disability benefits: Number 10 defends changes to PIPs


Downing Terrace has defended plans to change access to disability benefits, saying that “zero is losing out”.

The government wants to reverse the effects of a court ruling which distends the number of people who can claim Personal Independence Payments.

The PM’s official spokesman said the felicity system was a “strong safety net for those who are in need of it”.

Meanwhile, a No 10 assistant apologised for any offence after saying benefits should go to “really crippled people”.

No 10 policy unit head George Freeman had faced requires to apologise after saying on Sunday those “taking pills at qualified in, who suffer from anxiety” should not receive Personal Independence Payments.

On Monday he tweeted: “Requiring experienced myself traumatic anxiety as a child carer living w liquor I know all too well the pain anxiety + depression causes…

“Which is why as a latest health minister and policy adviser I am passionate about supporting loony health and disability, and hugely regret if my comment about the need to prioritise the most ‘sombre disabilities’ inadvertently caused any offence which was not intended.”

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The prime minister’s certified spokesman said the Personal Independence Payments (PIP) reforms were not around saving money and said that about £50bn a year was out on supporting people with disabilities and health conditions.

“The government has been free on the parity of esteem we want to see between mental and physical health,” the spokesman declared.

“What we are doing now is restoring the original intention of the PIPs which was to fantasize sure there was a sustainable benefit to provide continued support to those who kisser the greatest barrier to living independent lives.”

Pressed on whether the prime padre had a message for those who could be affected by the changes, the spokesman said “nonentity is losing out”.

He said a recent tribunal on assessments for PIP payments had “broadened” the criteria.

The guidance is proposing changes to PIPs, which replaced the Disability Living Remuneration, after tribunal rulings that claimants with psychological troubles who cannot travel without help must be treated like those who are blindfold.

The government says the rulings – if unchallenged – would have added £3.7bn to the profits bill by 2023.

The benefit is intended to help people cope with the particularly costs of living with ill health or disability and are made according to the point ups a person scores in an assessment of their needs.

Disabilities minister Penny Mordaunt thought she was reforming the PIP payments to “restore the original aim of the benefit” to make sure aid was given to the most needy.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell weighted he was “furious” about the proposed changes to PIPS, and said Labour command pressurise the government to reverse them in next month’s Budget.

The Freethinker Democrats said the government was using court losses “as an excuse to entirely restrict disability benefits”.

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