A Tory MP has just made a big mistake on live TV when talking about Personal Independence Payments (PIP). And the error suggests that he’s clueless about the damage his party is causing. What’s worse, the MP in question is on the Work and Pensions Committee.
Appearing on the BBC‘s Victoria Derbyshire show, Conservative MP Richard Graham appeared to suggest that some permanent degenerative conditions “do get better”. ‘Permanent’ being the key word there.
Host Victoria Derbyshire had pointed out to Graham that there were many people in Britain still having their benefits reassessed in spite of having such permanent conditions.
MP claims some permanent degenerative conditions "do get better", when challenged over PIP reassessments… pic.twitter.com/QgZtQew99y
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) May 2, 2017
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Fortunately, Derbyshire didn’t let Graham off the hook. She quickly asked:
Which permanent degenerative condition gets better?
And when Graham tried to redirect the conversation elsewhere, the host said:
Is that because there isn’t a permanent degenerative condition that ‘gets better?’ Quote, unquote.
But Graham still avoided rectifying his mistake. A mistake that exemplified the apparent cluelessness that has seen the Conservative government push through cuts to disability benefits which have caused what the UN has called “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights. Cuts which, in the worst cases, have led to people’s deaths.
With MPs like this, is it any wonder the Tories’ record in power looks so bad?
Since 2010, the Tories have cut, among other things:
- The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which previously supported people with care packages. Since the government cut it, in some areas 88% of people have seen their care packages reduced by up to 50%.
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for sick and disabled people in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) by a third. This will affect 500,000 people.
- 55% a week from ESA for sick and disabled 18-to-25-year-olds.
- 51,000 disabled people’s Motability vehicles, which were important for them to live independently.
- PIP from 164,000 people living with mental health issues. And the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has reduced or stopped PIP for nearly half (45%) of all claimants.
- The DWP was caught up in a scandal involving fit-for-work assessors asking people why they hadn’t “killed” themselves.
- A study found that the DWP fit-for-work assessments caused people permanent mental health damage.
- 62% of people the DWP sanctions live with mental health issues.
- 10,600 people died after their benefit claims ended.
- 90 people a month are dying after the DWP declares them ‘fit-for-work’.
- 590 people may have taken their own life due, in part, to DWP fit-for-work tests.
You know what to do
In fact, new figures now suggest that all the suffering has been for nothing. Because Tory cuts haven’t even saved the money they were supposed to. But this is perhaps unsurprising given that, as The Guardian recently wrote, Prime Minister Theresa May seems to be (at the very least) “clueless… on the impact of the government’s social security policy”.
If you think the Conservatives’ record is shameful, and are shocked by the apparent cluelessness of the Tory MPs in charge, you know what to do.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a five minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
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