Armstrong Welcomes Government’s PIP Ruling

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Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has welcomed the UK Government deciding not to challenge a court ruling stating Personal Independence Payments (PIP) were unfair to people will mental health conditions.

In December, the High Court ruled changes made by the Government to PIP last year, which limited the amount of support people with mental health could receive, “blatantly discriminate”. Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has said the Government will not appeal the judgement. Every PIP case will now be reviewed, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to receive more money.

Ms Armstrong said: “If the voices of people with disabilities had been part of the development of this process, then this retrogressive approach would not have to be made.”

“The UK should be progressively seeking to include people with disabilities, not excluding them. The High Court ruling confirmed the approach taken has discriminated against people with mental health and learning disabilities.

“Locally, I look forward to the Department for Communities engaging with Capita to ensure inclusive and non-discriminatory assessments will begin immediately. We need to see staff completing assessments and being trained to not only understand but accept mental health and learning disabilities within their considerations.

“I ask the Department to confirm how many people in Northern Ireland will have to now be reassessed and what measures will be put in place to reduce stress and anxiety for applicants.”