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Patsy McGlone 28th March 2017

McGlone Warns on New Guidelines on Mobility Assessments for PIP

SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone has warned that new guidelines from the British Government on applications for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit should not be adopted in Northern Ireland. The guidance, from the Department of Works and Pensions, has caused controversy by appearing to discriminate against people with mental health conditions compared to those with physical problems.

Mr McGlone said, “The last Executive, of Sinn Féin and the DUP, handed powers over welfare back to the British Government.

“These new guidelines on PIP, from the UK’s Department of Works and Pensions, have caused controversy by appearing to discriminate against people with mental health conditions compared to those with physical problems.

“The position the department has taken is that mobility impairments caused by psychological issues are “not relevant”.

“As a result people whose mobility is limited due to mental health conditions may not receive the mobility component of PIP even if their mobility is limited to the same extent as someone with a physical impairment.

“The mental health charity MIND has rightly condemned this as discrimination.

“Entitlements to benefits should be assessed on the impact of a person’s disability, not on the basis of the cause of that disability.

“It is imperative that these guidelines are not adopted in Northern Ireland.

“The DUP and Sinn Féin handed powers over welfare to the British Government, but they cannot escape the responsibility for what that government does with those powers.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Link to original news story from The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dwp-mental-health-discrimination-pip-cuts-mobility-mind-a7629866.html