How can they do it? That’s the question being asked, and for good reason, after a UK government minister’s amazing statement last week.
And I’d say that not only is Penny Mordaunt, minister for disabled people (and that includes those of us with MS), on thin ice but that she is in danger of crashing right through it – because what she told MPs is really unbelievable.
According to Mordaunt, she is planning to:
- Allow claimants to keep their Motability vehicle whilst appealing a decision that they do not qualify for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP.
- Allow claimants to continue receiving the mobility component of PIP if they are abroad for more than 13 weeks, even where the reason for absence is not connected with medical treatment.7
- Allow claimants to access the Motability scheme even if they are not in receipt of the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP.
BenefitsandWork.co.uk says: “That the DWP is considering letting claimants to keep their Motability vehicle whilst appealing – where they will have around a 60% chance of success – is surprising,
“But it is the last of these suggestions that is the most remarkable. The standard rate for PIP mobility is £21.80 a week. The enhanced rate is £57.45.
“If Mordaunt is suggesting that claimants getting the standard rate should also have access to Motability then the obvious question is: how will the shortfall be made up?
“If the proposal is that simply that standard rate mobility recipients can get a Motability vehicle provided they make up the shortfall of £35.65 a week themselves, then this is not much of a gesture.
“On the other hand, it is very hard to see how the cost of a Motability vehicle could be reduced to just £21.80 a week.”
That’s exactly the problem. This government, under both former pri.me minister David Cameron and replacement Theresa May, has proved itself keen to cut the budgets for welfare benefits – and now one of its ministers is suggesting spendi.ng more money in support of its Motability scheme. Or maybe she is alternatively putting forward an idea that will cost each claimant more than £35.
Either way, it shows an amazing level of political naivety and an astounding lack of understanding of, or compassion for, people with disabilities.
BenefitsandWork.co.uk says: “Worryingly, Mordaunt referred in her announcement to people in receipt of the ‘higher Motability component’. By that, the minister appeared to mean the enhanced rate of the mobility component.
“A minister who has yet to master even the most basic terminology relating to her portfolio is not one who inspires confidence . . . let alone hope.”
There, I have to agree. Totally.
50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/disorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.