PIP roll-out must be done safely rather than quickly
National charity Citizens Advice has welcomed news of the delay to the roll-out of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), which are to replace Disability Living Allowance in supporting disabled people.
The charity also warns that changes to the criteria by which people qualify for support will have "a huge and damaging impact on many disabled people and their families". Citizens Advice is particularly concerned by the tough new 'mobility criteria' under PIP. Previously, anyone unable to walk 50 metres would qualify for support, whereas under the new rule, someone that can walk for just 20 metres will not be entitled to help.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:
"It is better to get the roll-out of Personal Independence Payments done safely than done quickly. In light of the problems we've seen with the new system so far, delaying further roll-out is sensible.
"The last thing we want to see is another shambolic assessment process like we've seen with the Work Capability Assessment, which has led to 155,000 people seeking our advice about ATOS since 2011.
"Our clients and others affected by these changes need stability and strong, personalised support. The longer this uncertainty goes on, the longer we have two different systems running alongside each other. Now that ministers have made this decision it's vital they make the changes needed to protect disabled people.
"Ministers have ignored advice that disabled people will suffer as a result of government changes to the mobility criteria of the new system. Imposing an arbitrary benchmark of 20 metres fails to take into account an individual's personal circumstances and will mean many people are not able to live independent lives.
"Delaying roll-out is the first step, the next step must be to ensure consistent, fair assessments and undoing the harsh new rules which will have a huge and damaging impact on many disabled people and their families."
Notes to editors:
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.