Government refuses to say how much PIP reassessments have cost

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney
Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney has blasted the Minister for Disabled People Sarah Newton for refusing a request for an estimate of how much PIP (personal independence payment) reassessments have cost the taxpayer.

Mr Gaffney submitted the request in a written question to the minister, but has been told he will not receive a response because it would be too costly to provide one.

The official response from Ms Newton reads: “This information is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.”

The reply comes soon after Mr Gaffney led an adjournment debate in the Commons on the rollout of PIP and challenged Ms Newton on the human cost of the reassessment system and the failure to deliver predicted savings.

Labour has demanded that the current reassessments be scrapped and that a new system which takes into account a broader picture of the claimant’s needs, including parity for mental health conditions.

Mr Gaffney said: “This week in the Commons the Minister failed to acknowledge the failures of PIP rollout which have been highlighted by a number of charities dealing with the fallout.

“But this latest refusal to calculate how much this debacle has cost taxpayers takes the biscuit.

“The Office for Budget responsibility has consistently downgraded its forecasts of the savings promised when the Tory and Lib Dem coalition brought in these changes.

“If PIP is causing immeasurable harm to the claimants forced to jump through hoops to receive what they are entitled to and it is not saving any money, what is the point of it at all?

“It’s time to end this misery by scrapping reassessments across the UK. That is something which is in the Scottish Government has the power to do here. It should get on with it without delay.”