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Tories spend £200m to deny sick and disabled benefits

This news post is almost 6 years old
 

Since 2013, more than 400,000 people have been denied PIP or ESA after a medical assessment – causing untold misery

Tory ministers have “misused and wasted” an astonishing £200 million of public cash in trying to stop the vulnerable getting sickness and disability benefits.

Over five years, they have spent the vast sum contesting appeals for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Since 2013, more than 400,000 people have been denied PIP or ESA after a medical assessment – causing untold misery.

However, more than two thirds of appeals against refusal are successful when they go to tribunal.

It is in a desperate rear-guard fight against these appeal that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has spent the £200m, according to figures obtained by the Mirror newspaper under Freedom of Information.

They show the DWP ran up an estimated £199m in “direct operating costs” dealing with PIP and ESA appeals.

The amount spent has been rising year-on-year, with £32m in 2015/16 to £45m in 2016/17 and £62m in 2017/18.

It is thought the true cost will be higher – as the actual running of the tribunals is paid for by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

In 2016/17 the MoJ spent £103.1m on social security and child support tribunals - four out of five of which were for PIP or ESA.

Bill Scott, director of policy at disability charity Inclusion Scotland, told TFN: “We deplore and condemn the DWP’s misuse and waste of public money in attempting to defend the indefensible.

“The £200 million spent by the DWP, and the £100 million plus spent by the tribunal service, would have been much better spent on providing disabled people with the support they desperately need to lift them out of poverty and lead independent lives.

“The very high success rate of those who do take their cases to appeal demonstrates that the current assessment process for PIP and ESA is broken beyond repair and needs to be scrapped immediately.”

This was echoed by Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance.

He said: “In our society we believe in compassion. Yet the decision to spend these sums of money to prevent people from accessing the support they need is not the action of a compassionate system.

"Rather than investing money in actions that lock people into poverty, the UK government should reflect on how its resources can best be used to ensure that everyone can access the standard of living that we should all have.”

Phillip Anderson, head of policy at the MS Society, added: “We know people with MS are being failed by assessments that don’t capture the reality of this painful and exhausting condition

"These figures highlight how much money this system is wasting – money which could be better spent helping people with MS to live independently."

A DWP spokeswoman replied: “We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support that they need, spending £50 billion a year supporting them and those with health conditions.”

 

Comments

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RoughSleep_UK
almost 6 years ago
Hi we follow you on a number of Twitter links. £50bl is a lot of money, there has always been too many people milking the system it would help to weed these out of the system without the DWP/Government automatically stereotyping groups...
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Christina Fox
almost 5 years ago
I feel for any handicaps or seriously mentally ill people who dont get help. But this world is a very Greedy Materialistic place xxx
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