I share concerns that have been raised with me about Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). The assessments can be unhelpful and counterproductive, with the process causing distress for claimants and a high number of appeals. The current system is not fit for purpose.
The assessment process frequently fails to link people to appropriate support and fails to recognise the particular needs and experiences of people with mental health conditions. I know that the process can also exacerbate claimants’ conditions.
An independent review of PIP reported that claimants lacked confidence in the ability of health professionals to accurately record what they said during assessments. The report also said there needed to be greater transparency in the assessment process. The Government has said it will accept these recommendations. However, I am concerned that the government has not accepted the suggestions on transparency, trust and timely assurance, in full.
The Commons’ Work and Pensions Select Committee is also currently conducting an inquiry on PIP and ESA assessments.
At the 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to scrap PIP and WCA assessments. We must replace them with a personalised, holistic assessment process which provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers they face. In addition, we must end the privatisation of assessments.
I will continue to press the government to take action.