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Government responds to Work and Pensions Committee PIP and ESA report

The Work and Pensions Committee has published the Government's response to its reports on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) assessments.

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster, seen from the south bank of the River Thames.

Commenting on the Government’s response, Richard Holmes, UK Parliamentary and Public Affairs Manager, RNIB said:

“It is hugely disappointing to see the Government’s response to the Work and Pensions Committee reports, published in February. Despite several clear recommendations made by the Committee, which have frequently been made by disability organisations, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have opted for business as usual.

“We welcome the Government’s acknowledgement that more needs to be done to make the guidance and information process accessible for both PIP and ESA. However, it is remarkable that they are happy to continue with a PIP application form which isn't accessible to people with sight loss.

“This disadvantage is compounded by an assessment process which does not have a clear understanding of sight loss, a point that both the Committee and RNIB have made. We are interested to see what other professionals will now be included as acceptable providers of evidence in support of someone’s claim and would expect equal weight to be given to all supporting evidence at the point of decision.

“We welcome the recommendation that face-to-face assessments will be recorded and that this will no longer be the duty of the claimant to arrange. The DWP taking responsibility for recordings is long overdue and we expect that recordings will be provided to the claimant easily and without delay.

“It is disappointing that copies of a person’s assessment will not be circulated automatically, as recommended by the Committee. It seems unfair to place this responsibility for this on the claimant rather than the DWP.

“We will continue our discussions with the DWP to seek further progress on these issues.”

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