Designing fairer devolved replacement for PIP is urgent in light of MS Society report

Scottish Greens Social Security spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP has called on the Scottish Government to pay urgent attention to a new report from the MS Society which highlights the negative impact of disability welfare reforms on people with Multiple Sclerosis.

The report, published today, shows that 33% of people with MS transferred from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) lost support, with 10% losing entitlement entirely.

The report also highlighted the impact of the process on the health of people with MS, with 65% of the people surveyed saying that the transition had a negative effect on their MS.

A particular concern raised by the MS Society is the tightening of the test for the higher rate of mobility support, which tests whether someone can walk 20m unaided, as opposed to the previous 50m.

Alison Johnstone said:

"This report from the MS Society is one of many that shows the calamitous impact of the introduction of PIP on disabled people.

"Tens of thousands of Scots needing extra support to live independent lives are losing, on average, £2,600 a year. This report shows that the people with MS are particularly badly, hit, with 10% losing entitlement entirely, and 33% having their award reduced.

"The 20m rule, which groups like the MS Society warned the UK Government about before it was introduced, looks to have had exactly the impact predicted: a disastrous one for many Scots with MS.

"Designing a new, fairer devolved replacement for PIP could not be more urgent. In doing so, the Scottish Government should give serious consideration to the MS Society’s call to scrap the 20m rule.

"And with improvements made to devolved social security law by the Greens, there is the possibility that many awards for the new Scottish disability benefits will in the future be made on existing evidence, not arbitrary tests like the the 20m rule."