As PIP fiasco joins IDS’ record of failure, it is time for PM to get a grip

It’s time for David Cameron to get a grip on the chaos which IDS has given rise to at the DWP.

It’s time for David Cameron to get a grip on the chaos which IDS has given rise to at the DWP

Iain Duncan Smith has already racked up multi-million additional costs to the taxpayer with the failed IT and delayed roll-out of the Universal Credit system that aimed to replace some benefits and tax credits.

He originally claimed that more than one million people would be on the new benefit by April 2014, but this week we learnt that Universal Credit is in fact being paid to fewer than 6,000. With fewer and fewer people joining the new benefit system every month, the government’s flagship welfare reform is grinding to a halt.

If one major failure were not enough, Iain Duncan Smith’s department has also been responsible for severe failings in the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) programme. Work Capability Assessments are meant to test people’s capability for work but have been so poorly run that Citizens Advice Bureaux have been swamped with people needing help appealing inaccurate decisions by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

These mistakes are costing the taxpayer millions, thanks to the cost of the assessments and then paying for the tribunals – at a time when genuinely disabled people are denied the right support.

In April Rachel Reeves and I set out how a Labour government would reform Work Capability Assessments to help more people into jobs.

New figures released this week have shown that the new Personal Independence Payment looks set to join the DWP’s roll-call of disaster and delay.

In 2010 the coalition also announced the abolition of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16-64. DLA was to be replaced for some of the 1.8 million people affected by a new benefit – Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – announced with the aim of cutting twenty per cent from the total DLA budget.

The DWP planned for 1.3 million people to have gone through the new process by the end of 2015 to provide a £1 billion reduction in expenditure, but so far, on average, fewer than 7,000 people are currently being assessed per month.

Once again, Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘reforms’ have run aground in dramatic fashion. The National Audit Office examined the rollout of Personal Independence Payment since April 2013 and concluded: “Because it may take some time to resolve delays the Department has increased the risk that the programme will not deliver value for money in the longer term”.

Disabled people have the most to lose under such an inefficient system. The additional time waiting could mean losing a job, opportunities to train or even a home.

Taxpayers are also faced with huge costs. At the current rate of assessments it would take 42 years to clear the backlog. And the assessments cost £127m per year to run.

If David Cameron doesn’t get a grip on his work and pensions secretary, there is a real risk that the projected £3 billion annual savings will be lost. This could mean a new bill of over £5 billion just to run the assessments to clear the backlog of existing claimants (before any new claim for Personal Independence Payment is made).

Costing more, saving less and repeating Universal Credit failures: classic Iain Duncan Smith. It’s time for David Cameron to get a grip on the chaos which IDS has given rise to at the DWP. If Cameron fails to act there will be more chaos, delays and waste and it’ll take a Labour government to sort out the mess which bungling ministers have left.

Kate Green MP​ is shadow minister for disabled people

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18 Responses to “As PIP fiasco joins IDS’ record of failure, it is time for PM to get a grip”

  1. Ephemerid

    I Tweeted you the other day with this – 700,000 people are waiting for ESA assessments or decisions; 260,000 people are waiting for PIP assessments or decisions. If half of all those waiting got the lowest possible awards, it would cost about £17 Million a week.

    Therefore, DWP’s inefficiency is costing our sick and disabled £17,000,000 or more in UNPAID due entitlements – some terminally sick people, some disabled children who may not live long, many people who are not able to access the LA services, care packages and Carers Allowance for their carers thanks to this disgraceful situation.

    If you know this, you should be making a very big noise about it. If you don’t know this, and would like to find out how I’ve worked this all out, feel free to contact me via Twitter

  2. jray

    Everything that IDS touches fails,I have just completed 4 Weeks MWA (30 hours of forced volunteering) on the Work Programme,I applied 3 times to volunteer,but it was refused as they could not/would not vet the charity,but as A4E was paid over £600 to administer(?) my MWA placement it flew through! Absolute Bollocks,who are the real Scroungers?

  3. Richievilla

    Given that the PIP regulations state that anybody migrating from DLA with an enhanced award does not get this backdated (and indeed it takes 4 weeks after the date of the increased award for the new entitlement to take effect, and a further 4 weeks to get the first payment as it is paid in arrears) they have a vested interest in taking as long as possible to do this type of assessment. And yet when talking about the PIP delays they always say that nobody loses out, which is factually incorrect or, put another way, a lie. I lost out on over £1,000 compared to a brand new claimant because of this and I am sure that others will lose out even more in the future.

  4. Ephemerid

    It may well be time for Cameron to “get a grip” but it’s also time he was shamed into doing something about this – as I said, and as I’ll keep on saying until something gets done – we have nearly a million people waiting for assessments or decisions and half of them, if not more, are being denied their due entitlements – with devastating effects.
    Please, Kate – if you ever read the comments here – ask Ed Miliband to confront Cameron at PMQs with these appalling figures. Please.

  5. Chris Kitcher

    This creature IDS is the most callous bastard in this rotten government. Any creature that makes his political career by feeding of the sick and disabled is not fit to be a politician. In fact it is questionable whether or not he should be allowed to live in a free society. His sickening incompetency demeans all of us and he should be removed in order to prevent any further crimes against individuals.

  6. claywea

    What will Labour do? Will it stop the migration of people with unlimited DLA to PIP? Will PIP be stopped? No statements from the front bench yet

  7. John Manderson

    Could it be a fatal combination of being extremely stubborn and not very bright?

  8. Mr Milward

    Rumour has it that DWP are overhauling their communications to claimants. Better to explain what’s gone wrong presumably…

  9. CBinTH

    If only politicians and officials could be “sanctioned” for poor service delivery things might be a little less unpleasant. Imagine if IDS lost 3 months pay for the first mistake, 6 months for the second, and had no recourse to a hardship grant because of his capital.

    That would be fair.

    For those who don’t get it, claimants are now punished for lapses in virtue in much the way described above, with “sanctions” that, for a first offender, would take away 3 months of UC income. The “safety net”, then, now only really consists of “Hardship Grants”, which are £40 a week, and not so easy to get.

  10. Bill Kruse

    I suppose this means another five years of inactivity and error blamed on ‘the mess we inherited’, this time from Labour.

  11. johnmcardle

    Yes. Will Labour reverse these diabolical cuts to disabled people’s support ? We have a right to know.

  12. Spoonydoc

    What??! I pay my carers and social services with that money for my personal care. What happens then?

  13. Leon Wolfeson

    Yes, that seems to be the relevant question here. Along with their halting the UC, or at least the most odious aspects like in-work conditionality.

    IDS’s shambles are pretty much a given.

  14. Leon Wolfeson

    Isn’t that a codeword for trashing post and then sanctioning people for not turning up to the interviews said post set up?

  15. sarntcrip

    labour’s hypocrisy is following tory spending plans and id’s ideology of hit the disabled they can’t hit back if labour continue this way i’ll stop contributing and send back my membership card

  16. sarntcrip

    left foot forward goes onto the right footon disability they will keep up ids’S HATE CAMPAIGN AGAINST TH MOST VULNERABLE,BLAIRITE,POSSIBLY UN-LABOUR DEFINITELY

  17. Kyle Anderson

    The whole point of them is to NOT HAVE A GRIP… Even the big guns who don’t want to are stepping forward tell these inept and odious misanthropes to get their shit sorted out… If you were caught out at this level back in the days when they actually had politicians, then you would be struck off and thats that… the fact that these Socially Retarded Wimps, Crooks, Misfits (there really isn’t a statesman among them…) and conniving bastards are just allowed to wreck everything they touch is a damning indictment on their plans for Social Cleansing… NO future Gov from whatever hue will EVER be able to reverse or even cope with what they have so maliciously inflicted on people, the underpinnings of the state and economy… I hope they all fucking DIE (Malice aforethought…)

  18. Terry Craven

    There is also major problems with bias at tribunal hearings. The constitution of tribunals is unfair, and unfortunately at times does not afford the appellant a fair trial as per Article 6. It seems to me that most doctors are more interested in the treatment the appellant has or hasn’t had than the actual effects of the illness and/or disability.
    The tribunal needs to be balanced up by adding a third member, someone with a background in CAB or advice work. At the moment the two professional members, the judge and doctor are not held to account during deliberations. This is not conjecture I used to sit on ICB tribunals. I have no doubt the bias conduct I witnessed when sitting then is being repeated tenfold now because someone like me is not there to protect the appellant from prejudicial deliberations.

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