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
“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
“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.”
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