Calls for new DWP boss Liz Kendall to scrap PIP changes proposed by Tories earlier this year

Leading anti-poverty, health and disability charities, including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Mind and Disability Rights UK, have written to the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Liz Kendall, urging her to make dropping plans to restrict eligibility for incapacity benefits and scraping Personal Independence Payment (PIP) reforms her first tasks in office.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates that the planned changes to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) would mean 424,000 people with serious mobility or mental health issues would be denied extra Universal Credit worth over £400 a month and protection from sanctions. The OBR estimates that just three per cent of these people would be expected to move into work in the subsequent four years.

The ten organisations are also calling for any future changes to PIP, to be done with disabled people at the centre - similar to the Scottish Government's approach to Adult and Child Disability Payment and the new Pension Age Disability Payment due to launch in October.

The charities and organisations warn that the plans will not achieve their stated aim of reducing economic inactivity but instead “condemn seriously ill and disabled people to a life of poverty and the threat of sanctions”.

The letter also highlights the ongoing legal challenge to the previous government’s consultation on the plans.

Anela Anwar, Chief Executive of anti-poverty charity Z2K, who coordinated the letter, said: “The plans to restrict vital income and remove protections for those of us who become seriously ill or disabled in the future are misguided and dangerous.

“It was a relief that the previous government ran out of time before the election to implement the plans and we were hopeful that a new government would not take them forward. But we have heard nothing to date that has put our minds at ease.”

Ms Anwar added: “We urge the new Secretary of State to put scrapping the plans at the top of her to-do list. Instead of introducing ever tougher cuts and sanctions, the new government must look to remove the barriers to economic activity that are built into the social security system, through addressing the inadequacy and risk that currently characterise it. Seriously ill and disabled people should have the security we all need - the job starts now to make this a reality.”

You can read the full letter online here.

Calls to scrap proposed PIP changes put forward by Conservative government

The ten organisations and charities are calling for the proposals in the ‘Modernising support for independent living: the health and disability Green Paper’ to be scrapped.

Alternatives to regular cash payments

The Green Paper explains if DWP were to consider other ways of supporting people with disabilities and long-term health conditions - apart from providing regular cash payments - it could continue to contribute to people’s extra costs through alternative models.

These include:

  • Catalogue/ shop scheme: i n this kind of scheme, there would be an approved list from which disabled people could choose items at reduced or no cost. This would likely work better for equipment and aids rather than for services.

  • Voucher scheme: in this kind of scheme, disabled people could receive vouchers to contribute towards specific costs. It could work for both equipment/aids and for services.

  • A receipt-based system: this would involve claimants buying aids, appliances, or services themselves, and then providing proof of their purchase to claim back a contribution towards the cost. This could work in a similar way to Access to Work, which provides grants for equipment, adaptations, and other costs to help disabled people to start and stay in work.

  • One-off grants: these could contribute towards specific, significant costs such as for home adaptations or expensive equipment. It could involve a person supplying medical evidence of their condition to demonstrate the need for equipment or adaptations.