Published: 21 October, 2016
by TOM FOOT
THE welfare minister has agreed to look into the case of a disabled man suffering with a chronic condition whose benefits were stripped away under government reforms.
The Conservative front-bencher Penny Mordaunt was responding to a question from Labour’s Karen Buck in a debate in the House of Commons.
The Westminster North MP was demanding answers about a constituent who had chronic disease and had no money, electricity or food after losing his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independent Payments (PIP).
She said: “How confident is the minister of the robustness of emergency payments for disabled people who lose their ESA or PIP? What would she say to my constituent who suffers from chronic lymph-oedema? He wrote to me two weeks ago having lost his benefits. ‘I can’t seem to concentrate on what I should do. I have no money at all. My electricity and my gas have run out. As for food I don’t know what to do.’ How can we have a system in which people are left in such a predicament?”
Ms Mordaunt, a former director of communications at Kensington & Chelsea Council who once appeared in a TV diving show, is the Conservative MP for Portsmouth.
She told the Commons: “I am sorry to hear of the circumstances of the honourable lady’s constituent. Enormous numbers of decisions are made on ESA, PIP and on all sorts of other benefits.
“In some cases, the wrong decision is taken and it is overturned on appeal.
“We need to concentrate on ensuring that we arrive at the right decision in the first place.
“That has been our focus over the last few weeks, and we are doing a lot of work to ensure that medical and other evidence is submitted earlier in the process so that such circumstances do not arise. I would be very happy to look at the situation of the honourable lady’s constituent.”