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Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP has highlighted figures obtained under freedom of information laws which show that 430 assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have been successfully challenged by people in the Perth & Kinross Council area since April 2013.

There were a total of 860 appeals during this period – meaning that the success rate for appeals was an incredible 50 per cent.  One in every two decisions to withdraw benefits was overturned on appeal.

PIP is being rolled out across the UK to replace Living Allowance (DLA) as the main benefit for disabled or ill people. To receive this benefit, claimants have to endure controversial assessments, conducted by private companies on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Ms Cunningham said: 

“Disabled people in Perthshire South & Kinross-shire rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community and for the DWP to get these cases so consistently wrong suggests a systematic hostility towards people in need.

“We have all read of shocking cases where individuals have – clearly wrongly – been refused the support to which they had previously been entitled, but these astonishing figures make it very evident that the approach of the UK Government is all about dismantling the social security system and taking away the safety net it is supposed to offer.

“In any system there will be mistakes.  The existence of an appeals system recognises that.  But when one in every two decisions have to be overturned on appeal then it points to significant problems with the manner in which the original decisions are being made.

“The Tory government’s punitive approach to the system simply isn’t working.  It is failing vulnerable people, withdrawing support from those who need it most, and leaving people out of pocket and unable to afford the basic essentials. 

“The UK government’s disastrous record on welfare shows why Scotland should have the power to take our own approach – rather than leaving these powers at Westminster. 

“In the meantime, it is vital that these fundamental flaws in the current assessment appeals process are urgently addressed.”

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, 63 Glasgow Road, Perth PH2 0PE  •  01738 620540   •   Website designed & hosted by Craig Mackay Design