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Tim Farron with benefit claimant John Heaton and his carer Kath Dunning [Image: Cumbria Crack].

How could we have expected more from the Party of Liars?

Well-deserved congratulations go to former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron for exposing then-Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green as having lied when he said assessors from private companies would no longer re-assess claimants who have long-term illnesses.

At the time, Mr Green said it was “pointless” and “only adds to their anxiety and difficulties”. So why is the minority Conservative government still doing it?

The answer to that, of course, is in the information provided to Mr Farron:

The Tories could never stop re-assessing people with long-term illnesses because the Department for Work and Pensions simply does not make a note of which claimants have them.

Damian Green must have known this when he made his statement last October.

In fact, it confirms what This Writer suspected when I published this article, at the time – and this article, one month later.

So we knew Mr Green was lying at the time; the Conservative government of the day was criticised for it – and did nothing.

Is it time to pressurise the new, minority Tory government to keep its promise – or sling its hook?

Tim Farron has slammed the Government for lying to local people over plans to stop re-testing benefit claimants who have long-term chronic illnesses such as Huntingdon’s, MS, and Parkinson’s.

Back in October last year, the then Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, Damien Green, said that they would no longer reassess benefits for those who have long-term sickness as it is “pointless” and “only adds to their anxiety and difficulties”.

However, a freedom of information request from Tim Farron has revealed that the DWP never intended to carry out this proposal as they do not even record data which would allow them to pull out the group of claimants who have chronic illnesses.

An example of someone who the Government has broken their promise to is John Heaton. John has a degenerative brain disease and severe obstructive pulmonary disease of which he has a sick note to cover him from his doctors. He is also suffering from a hip injury and extreme weight loss for which his dietician nurse makes home visits.

Kath Dunning, who is John’s carer, said: “I received a letter from the DWP saying that John had missed a medical assessment. I rang the relevant authorities to tell them that I hadn’t received a letter about the assessment.

“They told me to put it in writing which I did. They then replied four weeks later after numerous phone calls from myself to say that they were upholding their decision. This meant that I would have to take it to a tribunal and John would have to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance.”

Read more: Farron slams DWP over breaking promise to stop re-testing claimants with lifelong illnesses


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