Scottish campaigner gives hard-hitting evidence to MSPs on welfare
8 May 2012
Deeply inappropriate assessments are being made about people's ability to work. Often by practitioners who do not have knowledge of the conditions that they are dealing with.
Tanith Muller, Campaigns Officer in Scotland
Tanith Muller, our campaigns officer in Scotland, talked to
Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) last week about the
impact of welfare reform on people with Parkinson's in Scotland.
The meeting was
filmed by the BBC on Democracy Live. The Scotsman ran a story
MSPs hear of benefit reform worries.
Anxiety for people with Parkinson's
Tanith's evidence came just as a UK-wide consultation into major
changes to Disability Living Allowance ends - a reform which is
causing real anxiety to people with Parkinson's.
The Welfare Reform Bill was passed into law by Westminster MPs
in March this year. The new Act provides the green light for many
billions of pounds of cuts to the disability benefits system.
This includes replacing Disability
Living Allowance or DLA for those of working age with a new
benefit 'Personal Independence Payment' or PIP.
Impact on people in Scotland
Tanith spoke to MSPs who want to influence the impact the
reforms have on people living in Scotland.
Although the new Act is UK-wide, the Scottish Parliament can
still influence the way people with Parkinson's can access
benefits. These include transport concessions, blue badges, and
help with heating bills.
Tanith emphasised how the anxiety of the Welfare Reform changes
were affecting people with Parkinson's and how the tests for the
benefits are not fit for purpose.
Tanith told the MSPs:
"Deeply inappropriate assessments are being made about people's
ability to work. Often by practitioners who do not have knowledge
of the conditions that they are dealing with, nor appreciation of
the impact that they have on people's lives."
Fighting the cuts
Since the Bill was first announced, we've been working with
people affected by Parkinson's to fight against these cuts. We
won some battles and lost some, but
eventually it passed into law.
We've been asking people affected by Parkinson's for their
opinions about the new benefits and what needs to change, and we've
used those views in our response to Government on the criteria for
the Personal Independence Payment.
Many thanks to the many people with Parkinson's that gave us
help with our response. Thank you also to the 124 people who
responded to our survey which built our response about how people
currently use Disability Living
Tell the Scottish Parliament about your experiences
If you're in Scotland, tell the Scottish Parliament about your experiences with claiming benefits.
The Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee wants to hear
directly from people living in Scotland who are affected by the
Welfare Reform Act.
This includes people who have applied for, or receive,
Employment and Support Allowance or Disability Living
The committee's interested in everyone's experiences, but it
might be helpful to think about any of the following points:
- Your experience of being assessed for benefits
- Why you need the benefits you receive, and what you do with
- The impact of changes to the benefit system on your health or
- The blue badge scheme
- the concessionary travel scheme
Contact the Scottish Parliament with your views
You can contact the committee at email@example.com
Or write to them at James Drummond, Welfare Reform Committee,
Room T1.01, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP.
Please make sure send a copy of your comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Live elsewhere in the UK?
If you don't live in Scotland and would like to share your
experiences on welfare reform please email email@example.com