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Charity CEOs call for Minister to rethink changes to Personal Independent Payments

Steve Scown has joined CEOs from over 30 charities and organisations to write an open letter to the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt. The letter urges her not to proceed with damaging, proposed changes to Personal Independence Payments.

Changes to the eligibility criteria for personal independence payments will leave at least 160,000 disabled people and those with long-term conditions without access to the financial support that they need.

Research from charity Scope shows that disabled people spend an average of £550 a month on disability related expenditure. This includes insurance, increased energy bills, and specialist equipment, the cost of which PIP helps to cover.

The letter makes it clear that people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues face just as severe barriers and costs as those with other conditions – which recent changes by the Minister did not acknowledge.

Letter to Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work

Dear Minister,

Changes to Personal Independence Payment

We, the undersigned, as national organisations representing disabled people, are deeply concerned by imminent changes to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which will leave at least 160,000 disabled people and those with long-term conditions without vital financial support.

The decision to amend PIP following Upper Tribunal judgments means that disabled people face losing £3.7 billion by 2022. We believe this undermines the principle of the PIP assessment and its ability to fairly provide financial support, regardless of impairment or condition.

PIP helps to cover essential and unavoidable extra costs faced by disabled people. Research by Scope shows that disabled people spend an average of £550 a month on disability related expenditure, including increased energy bills, specialist equipment and insurance. Those with mental health issues, learning disabilities and autism face just as severe barriers and costs as those with other impairments – these changes fail to acknowledge this.

We are also worried that the full scale and impact of these changes will not be understood before they come into effect. The Impact Analysis acknowledges a ‘significant risk that the numbers affected could be much higher’ than currently estimated.

Our helpline and advice services have been inundated by calls about PIP since it was introduced. In far too many cases we hear that the system is continuing to fail people. The confusion and concern caused by these changes highlights the need for the system to be urgently improved. It must work for disabled people and accurately assess the support they need.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you further.

Yours sincerely:
1. Steve Ford, Chief Executive, Parkinson’s UK
2. Liz Carroll, Chief Executive, The Haemophilia Society
3. Teresa Catto-Smith, Chief Executive, Autism in Scotland
4. Sonya Chowdhury, Chief Executive, Action for M.E
5. Ailsa Bosworth MBE, Chief Executive, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
6. Philip Lee, Chief Executive, Epilepsy Action
7. Chris Mackie, Director, AdvoCard
8. Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive, Royal Mencap Society
9. Karen Walker, Chief Executive, Multiple System Atrophy Trust
10. Billy Watson, Chief Executive, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health)
11. Mark Lever, Chief Executive, National Autistic Society
12. Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
13. Brian Carlin, Chief Executive, Aspire
14. David Ramsden, Chief Executive, Cystic Fibrosis Trust
15. Debbie Cook, Chief Executive, National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS)
16. Amanda Batten, Chief Executive, Contact a Family
17. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind
18. Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, National AIDS Trust
19. Steve Scown, Chief Executive, Dimensions
20. Kate Lee, Chief Executive, CLIC Sargent
21. Gillian Morbey, Chief Executive, Sense
22. Jill Allen-King, National Federation of the Blind of the UK
23. Dave Webber, Chief Executive, Livability
24. Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive, Scope
25. Barbara Gelb OBE, Chief Executive, Together for Short Lives
26. Peter Corbett, Chief Executive, Thomas Pocklington Trust
27. Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness
28. Neil Heslop, Chief Executive, Leonard Cheshire Disability
29. Liz Sayce OBE, Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK
30. Michelle Mitchell OBE, Chief Executive, MS Society
31. Kate Steele, Chief Executive, Shine
32. Andy Kerr, Chief Executive, Sense Scotland

Contact our press office

For more information, interviews, and case studies contact Hannah McCreesh, Communications and PR Officer at Dimensions, on (e) Hannah.mccreesh@dimensions-uk.org (t) 0300 303 9062.

Dimensions provides evidence-based, outcomes-focused support for people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs. We help people be actively involved in their communities.

We are one of the largest not-for-profit support providers in the UK. We currently support around 3,500 people and their families throughout England and Wales with help from our 7,000 members of staff.

We have been providing support packages for families for 40 years. We offer a range of support services to adults of all ages, including those with complex needs or challenging behaviour.

We are proud to be a not-for-profit organisation, not here for commercial gain. This means we’re able to invest all our efforts and resources into the important things – which is helping the people we support lead happy and fulfilled lives.