The Conservative minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, is a desperate woman.
So desperate is she, it appears she is happy to lie to Parliament about the plight of people with disabilities who are trying hard to survive the governments of David Cameron and Theresa May.
The simple fact is that 71 per cent of PIP appeals in the first three months of this year were granted, because the Tory system is rigged to prevent claimants from receiving the benefit.
The figure represents only five or six in every 100 claimants who have been turned down for the benefit – despite the fact that benefit fraud is known to occur in fewer than one per cent of cases – because there is scant support for them to appeal with no legal aid to pay for it; because an appeal is a lengthy time-consuming process and appeals are not routinely undertaken by welfare rights agencies such as the CAB.
Before they even get to appeal, claimants have to go through the lengthy process of ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’, with no chance of payment until any decision is made. No wonder so many give up on the process and try to find another way – although we have no information on what that other way may be – apart from this:
A number of coroners have come out and stated that the DWP played a role in the death of chronically sick and disabled benefit claimants, yet DWP minister Sarah Newton doesn't seem to give a damn.
— Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) July 3, 2018
Still, from a certain point of view Ms Newton is right.
It isn’t a “hostile environment” along the lines of that faced by the Windrush Generation – the environment for disabled benefit claimants under the Tory government is downright homicidal.
I seem to recall mentioning this quite recently… oh yes! It was a few days ago when Jeremy Corbyn was coming out with his weak claim that there is “evidence” to show Tory austerity policies have caused people to die. We don’t just have evidence – we have proof.
It was certainly persuasive enough for the United Nations to find that the UK’s Tory government has committed “grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights” after an investigation.
But Ms Newton had the nerve to try spin the situation, claiming that talk of a “hostile environment” is actually putting people off claiming benefits – when we all know it is Tory policies that are turning genuine claimants away.
The information about PIP appeals (above) is clear. Yet Ms Newton has the insolence to say those who accurately attack Tory policy should “stop saying things which they know are not true.”
She knew she was saying things that were not true.
Of course, Parliament is supposed to have procedures to penalise MPs who lie to their fellows. Those procedures have failed time and time again over the last eight years.
One wonders if those who allegedly safeguard Parliamentary standards will ever get their fingers out and do their jobs.
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