Labour’s Laura Pidcock just secured a crucial debate in parliament. Here’s what she wants you to know.

Laura Pidcock PIP
Support us and go ad-free

On 31 January, Labour’s Laura Pidcock will be holding a debate in parliament. It concerns one of the more contentious issues of government policy. And the MP for North West Durham has told The Canary that she wants the voices of the people who feel “degraded” by the system to be heard.

Personal Independence Payments

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a welfare entitlement from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It was rolled out gradually in 2013 to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The then-Coalition government said the change would reduce costs by 20%. But ever since, PIP has been dogged by controversy. This includes the UN saying the government must “repeal” changes made to PIP in 2017; an argument the High Court agreed with just before Christmas and one on which the DWP has now backed down.

So Pidcock has secured what’s known as a Westminster Hall debate on PIP, with evidence from people affected by the benefit. It will focus on claimants; Pidcock has received dozens of responses to a request for evidence. She told The Canary:

In my constituency, North West Durham, the highest volume of casework I receive by far is with issues associated with PIP. Constituents contact me on a range of difficulties: the long drawn-out process of claiming the benefit, including filling in paperwork, attending assessments, challenging decisions and making appeals.

Dogged by controversy

Pidcock also noted that many people living with mental health issues find the PIP process difficult:

I have found that people with mental health problems often find the process most challenging, due to the way the assessment is focused on physical conditions, albeit still not comprehensively. This has led to constituents contacting me who are in severe distress and some suicidal.

And scandals have dogged the process. These include:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
  • 189,960 disabled people who previously got the DLA being denied PIP between 8 April 2013 and 31 July 2017. This was 21% of all disabled people who were reassessed by private outsourcing firms Atos and Capita.
  • Atos PIP assessors asking claimants they were reassessing: ‘why haven’t you killed yourself, yet?’
  • Between April 2017 and June 2017, 14,077 people winning their appeals against the DWP denying them PIP. This was 65% of all cases.
  • Also, between April 2015 and April 2017, 204,798 people winning their PIP appeals or mandatory reconsiderations against the DWP.

Pidcock: projecting the unheard voices

Pidcock believes that the government must start listening to people negatively affected by the process. She told The Canary:

I have met many people who feel utterly degraded by the process. I want their experiences to be heard and the Minister to listen and respond to them. When I asked for people to send me their experiences, just a day ago, the response was overwhelming and there have been some harrowing stories. It is clear the system is punishing and must be changed.

And with the government just recently having been found to be in violation of disabled people’s human rights for the fifth time in 20 months, Pidcock’s debate is needed more than ever.

Get Involved!

– Support Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), fighting for disabled people’s rights.

– Check out more articles from The Canary on disability.

Featured image via Going Underground/YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed