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Why we’re not giving up the fight on PIP

Thursday, 20 April 2017 Ayaz Manji, Mind Policy & Campaigns Officer

Many of us know what it’s like to fight to stay independent when our mental health takes a turn for the worse. Everything from getting a cup of tea with a friend to a journey to work can become a struggle. For a huge number of people with mental health problems that has a real financial impact.

Getting the right support to carry on living your life can be expensive. It might mean paying for a support worker. It might mean getting a taxi to make a GP appointment, when getting on a crowded bus just isn’t possible. That’s where benefits like Personal Independence Payments (PIP) come in. They’re supposed to be there for everyone who faces extra costs because of their disability - no matter what kind of condition someone has.

Last December courts ruled that over 160,000 people with mental health problems hadn’t been getting the level of PIP they should have been receiving. Last month, the Government announced that they want to change the law so that they don’t have to follow the court’s ruling.

Over the last few months we have been campaigning to stop the changes happening. More than 9,000 of you have written to your MPs, and this has led to many MPs and Lords speaking out against the changes in Parliament several times.

We were expecting a debate in Parliament today about the changes to PIP. But then the Prime Minister announced a General Election to take place on 8th June. Since that announcement, the agenda for Parliament has changed and the PIP debate has been cancelled.

We are extremely disappointed that the Government have not allowed for MPs to have a meaningful vote to stop these damaging changes to PIP coming into force. MPs have just a few weeks left in Westminster before the election campaign fully begins. It’s now unlikely that another debate on PIP will be scheduled.

Mind is determined to carry on campaigning on PIP. That’s because no-one should be told that their psychological distress ‘isn’t relevant’ to whether or not they need support. We will keep fighting on all of those issues and more, but we need your help.

So what now?

The General Election on the 8th June is an opportunity for all political parties to show their commitment to mental health. We want to see the next Government improve support for people with mental health problems – including reversing these damaging and misguided changes to PIP.

We believe everyone with a mental health problem should be able to access excellent care and services. We believe everyone should be treated fairly, positively and with respect. This is what we campaign on.

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