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Frank Field blasts 'impatient' ministers over welfare reform delay
FRANK Field has waded into the Government after further delays to its flagship welfare reform policy were announced this week.
Disability benefit changes for England, Scotland and Wales have been held-up because the Government has been unable to assess claimants in time.
The move represents another delay by the Department for Works and Pensions, which initially hoped the policy would apply to all new claimants across Britain by the end of October.
Now Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will replace Disability Living Allowance only for claimants in certain areas.
The change to the reform timetable means only those in Wales, East and West Midlands and East Anglia will transfer to PIP.
Mr Field, MP for Birkenhead, said: “With Universal Credit and PIP hitting the buffers within a matter of weeks, this latest hammer blow goes to show how impatient and unrealistic the Government has been in its handling of welfare reform.
“In trying to over-egg the pudding, ministers have heaped uncertainty onto hundreds of thousands of vulnerable and disabled people across the country, who don’t know if and when they may lose vital support, such as access to the Motability Scheme.”
Ministers said assessments were taking longer than expected and the scheme would now be phased-in more gradually.
Since June this year, all new disabled claimants have had to apply for PIP, and all current claimants whose circumstances have changed had been due to start moving to the new benefit on Monday.
Most claimants will now continue to claim DLA until 2015, after which point they will be sent information about reapplying for PIP.
- Over the next few years the Government is moving around 3.3m DLA claimants, aged 16-to-64, to the new benefit - PIP.
- DLA - worth between £21 and £134.40 per week - is available to disabled people who have difficulty walking or need help to look after themselves.
- Under the PIP system, which introduces regular written and face-to-face medical assessments, claimants will receive a daily living component of either £53 or £79.15 and a mobility component of either £21 or £55.25.
- The Department of Work and Pensions says the new system will be simpler and fairer and is essential to control costs, which have risen to £13bn per year since DLA was introduced in 1992.
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