John Baron MP questions Minister over help for blind people in Disability Debate

June 21, 2012
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MP receives assurance from Minister

 

In Parliament yesterday, John Baron MP intervened on Maria Miller MP – the Minister for Disabled People – on the subject of how the new Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will affect the blind and visually impaired. There is concern, expressed by bodies such as the RNIB, that blind people will not have the same access as wheelchair users to the enhanced-rate mobility element of the PIP, and so return to the pre-2009 anomaly whereby blind people and wheelchair users were treated differently. John is the co-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment (APPGEHVI).

John said:

“The Minister had a very constructive meeting with our Parliamentary group, at which we discussed concerns as to whether blind people will be able to access the enhanced-rate mobility element of PIP in a similar manner to wheelchair users. Can she assure me that she is giving consideration to ensuring we will not revert to the pre-2009 anomaly?”

The Minister responded by giving that assurance.

John said afterwards:

“Both wheelchair users and blind people face massive barriers to independent mobility. Wheelchair users will be automatically entitled to receive the enhanced-rate of PIP, whereas blind people will be expected to manage on the standard rate. I firmly believe that if you have no sight then your needs are just as great as someone who is physically unable to walk.”

During the debate, John also attacked the Labour Party for its failure to reform the welfare system.

John said:

“The Labour Party when in power singularly failed to reform the welfare system, when reform was long overdue. The Government is right to now tackle welfare reform, but we must make sure groups with similar disabilities are treated fairly.”

Ends

Date: 21/06/12

Word Count: 304

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