TORY MP’s MENTAL HEALTH COMMENTS “CRASS AND UNHELPFUL”
The Scottish National Party have called for clarity from the UK government over cuts to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) which could see around 160,000 disabled people stripped of their financial support.
The UK government has announced emergency legislation to change PIPs, which replaced Disability Living Allowance, and overturn two tribunal rulings last year. The support is designed to help people cope with the extra costs of living with ill health or disability.
Tory MP and head of the Number 10 Policy Unit George Freeman drew criticism from disability organisations when he said the changes would ensure that benefits went to people who are “really disabled” rather than people “who suffer from anxiety”.
Corri Wilson MP, the SNP’s Disability spokesperson, said:
“George Freeman’s crass and unhelpful comments seeking to differentiate between mental and physical disabilities once again highlights this Tory government’s utter lack of understanding or compassion when it comes to providing for those who are less fortunate than others – he should be ashamed of himself and must apologise for the offence he has caused.
“We were told that there would be no further cuts to disability support during this parliament but once again this Tory government has shown that austerity – no matter what the impact is on people’s lives – is to be pursued at all costs.
“The UK government must urgently clarify what these new proposals will mean for people who currently receive PIPs and give an assurance that any changes will not result in a reduction in financial support as the Tories promised.
“I have signed a “prayer” motion in the House of Commons to formally object to this legislation and I call on all MPs to unite in opposition against these changes by adding their signature too.”
West Dunbartonshire MP, Martin Docherty-Hughes, said:
“These changes will exclude disabled people from vital financial assistance and sends a dangerous message to the public that people suffering from mental health conditions are less worthy of support than those with physical disabilities. That is an abhorrent policy position for any Government to take
“With condemnation from opposition MPs – as well as some Conservative MPs – and from disabled people and countless disability organisations, I also urge the Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green to rethink these callous changes. The Tories must explain why those with mental health conditions are not entitled to the same levels of support as others?
“It’s imperative that we get clarification on what this means for future disabled people who are in need of PIP support, and it is vital that MPs are given the opportunity to debate and fully scrutinise these cuts.
“Clearly, this emergency legislation is about the Tory government trying to make savings at any cost and with absolutely no thought for the most important element at stake here; the disabled people whose lives will be affected.”
Note for Editors:
A ‘prayer’ is a particular type of Early Day Motion that is used when MPs wish to object formally to a statutory instrument. If a motion ‘praying’ that an instrument ‘be annulled’ is tabled within 40 days of it being laid before Parliament, a debate may be arranged in a Delegated Legislation Committee or in the Chamber.