Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.

09 APR 2018


Thank you for taking the time to email me about the Royal National Institute of Blind People's (RNIB) campaign on Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

I understand your concern on this matter and hope the following information on this topic from the Department of Work and Pensions is of interest:

Every year over £50 billion is spent to provide support to people with disabilities and health conditions so they can live as independently as possible, £7 billion more than in 2010. This amounts to 6 per cent of all Government spending. The assessment criteria for PIP are designed to ensure partially sighted people do get appropriate support, including the principle that an individual who satisfies more than one descriptor within an activity should receive the one worth the greater number of points. That ensures, for example, that someone who may be able to read at home using a magnifier but is unable to read something like a sign would be awarded the maximum points available for that activity.

PIP is a fairer benefit than the previous system of Disability Living Allowance as it focusses help on those who need it most, and can respond to fluctuating needs of individuals. The Government is committed to further improving the assessment process, with two independent reviews having been completed, as well as a public consultation on improving the process for claimants.
Generally PIP assessments make the right decision. Since PIP was introduced, only 8 per cent of initial decisions have gone to appeal and only 4 per cent have been overturned. Improvements in the assessment process will ensure this number falls further.

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