Monday, 23 June 2014
Scottish National Party MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has today raised the “fiasco” of delayed Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in the House of Commons with Work and Pensions Minister Mike Penning.
The SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions asked the Minister if he would set out a timetable for clearing the backlog of all delayed PIP payments and asked what interim support would be offered to those having to wait more than 28 days.
The Department for Work and Pensions has been heavily criticised for its failure to manage PIP. The cross-party Public Accounts Committee warned that the PIP scheme has been “rushed” through with a “shocking” impact on claimants. MacMillan cancer support has said at least 4,500 cancer patients (29%) have waited six months or more to find out whether they will even be awarded their PIP.
Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:
“The Minister should have committed to providing interim support for those left below the bread line because of his government’s failings. The failures of the UK government have meant some of the most vulnerable people in our society have been forced to turn to food banks and loans whilst their claims are being decided – including people who are terminally ill.
“We know the majority of Scots want all welfare decisions made in Scotland rather than Westminster, and a Yes vote in September will make that a reality.”
Dr Eilidh Whiteford:
"Mr Speaker, I have a number of very sick constituents who have been pushed into severe financial hardship because of the unacceptable delays to the PIP process. Some of them now dependent on foodbanks.
I listened carefully to the minister earlier, but will he set out a timetable for clearing the backlog, not just for terminally ill applicants but for all applicants, and what interim support will he offer those having to wait more than 28 days?"
Department of Work and Pensions Minister Mike Penning:
"Mr Speaker I repeat again, it is too long, I accept it is too long and I am determined to get it down. We are working with the providers to make sure, and we’re making sure that we, we actually get it down.
I will look into the individual case if the honourable lady wants to bring it to me, but I can’t repeat more. We are doing everything we possibly can to do this, but I’d rather see people being assessed than left like the previous administration did, without having any assessment too and just done on paper based assessments."