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Opposition ask Government about social security and employment support

6 March 2019 (updated on 6 March 2019)

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Former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams, asked an urgent question in the House of Commons on social security and employment support.

This follows a point of order raised by the Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions and disabled people, Marsha De Cordova in the Commons, on Tuesday 5 March 2019. During her point of order, Marsha De Cordova said:

"On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This morning, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions published a written statement outlining changes to social security, health and disability. By my calculations there are no fewer than nine announcements which will have a significant impact on hundreds and thousands of ill and disabled people, including, to name a few: changes to the personal independence payment assessment for pensioners; the introduction of a new integrated assessment framework for employment and support allowance, universal credit and PIP; seeking to extend contracts on the delivery of the then work capability assessment; yet another review of the Government's manifesto commitments to get more disabled people into work, with little or no mention of improvements to the Access to Work scheme; a small-scale test into conditionality and sanctions; and commissioning yet more research into the understanding of the needs of disabled people."

"Mr Speaker, the written statement is vague on detail and raises significant questions. It is vital that Members are given the opportunity to question the Secretary of State about the changes. Will you please advise me on how best we can ensure that the Secretary of State comes to this House and answers questions from Members?"

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton responded to the urgent question and stated:

"We are making significant progress in improving peoples experiences of claiming disability benefits [...] but we need to continue to make improvements to better support people with health conditions and disabilities."

Debbie Abrahams replied to the Minister welcoming the announcement that there would be no PIP reassessment for those over pension age, but questioned why this could not be extended to all disabled people particularly those with progressive conditions.

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