New research shows the government has failed to deliver the £4bn of savings it was aiming to make by cutting disability benefits.
According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the government was hoping to cut spending by 20 per cent by moving from the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payments (PIP). Although forecasts initially predicted £13.6bn would be spent on disability benefits in 2018-2019, the figure is now thought to be around £18bn.
“This analysis clearly shows that the government’s social security cuts are failing disabled people,” Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams told The Independent. “It is becoming increasingly clearer that these flawed assessments only create further waste and expense.”
The government has been branded “over-optimistic” by the chairman of the Work and Pensions select committee, Frank Field, who claims the government’s failure to deliver the project on time has resulted in cuts having to be made elsewhere in the welfare budget. He said: “One way of saving money, of course, would be to ensure a higher percentage of PIP assessments return accurate decisions. This would prevent both the immediate hardship among claimants as well as the need for lengthy, costly appeals which serve in many cases to delay justice.”
According to the report, 161,000 people have won their appeals against the decisions to remove their Personal Independence Payments.
The story of how one man lost his mobility scooter under the new PIP assessment system was reported by the Eastern Daily Press. Richard Green, who has been diagnosed with T cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma said he was “outraged” by the decision. He said: “It had a huge impact on my life. That was my freedom and they took it away from me.”