Personal Independence Payment: People with Multiple Sclerosis

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons am 2:34 pm ar 13 Tachwedd 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Department closely monitors all aspects of the assessment process, including how we assess fluctuating health conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Following the publication of the recent White Paper, we are looking at ways to further enhance the delivery of personal independence payments to all disabled people.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice)

Orkney has the highest prevalence of multiple sclerosis anywhere in the world, so we have seen the problems caused by PIP assessments that do not cope properly with fluctuating conditions. We now have the adult disability payment in Scotland, but that still uses some of the same eligibility criteria. As the Minister carries out the review, will he speak to Scottish Ministers to make sure that we have a system that works for every MS sufferer, wherever they are in the United Kingdom?

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

It is fair to say that I have a collaborative and strong working relationship with Ministers in the Scottish Government, and I would definitely be keen to talk them about the tests and trials that we are introducing, which I hope will help to better capture fluctuating conditions and help people to provide all of the right evidence as early as possible in the claim journey, so that we get people’s awards rights and make the right decisions. We should certainly look to work UK-wide where we can.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Ceidwadwyr, North Swindon

Learning the lessons of our changes to special rules for the terminally ill and the principles of the severe conditions criteria should allow us to look at those who sadly have degenerative conditions such as MS and motor neurone disease. Will the Minister confirm that, as part of the testing and piloting, the Department is looking at the potential for automatic entitlement for those with degenerative conditions, which would lift around a quarter of a million people a year out of unnecessary assessments?

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

My hon. Friend has been a strong advocate for the severe disability group work that we have been taking forward. I am pleased to be able to say that Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the British Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine have agreed to work in partnership with the DWP to test the SDG. Reducing the assessment burden where it is inappropriate, and ensuring that people get the right support and help, is the right thing to do.