East Dunbartonshire MP John Nicolson has written to the UK Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt MP to ask why his constituents who fall ill or suffer a serious accident are not receiving the support they need to get into work or assistance to stay in employment during challenging times.
Mr Nicolson said: “The stated aim of the British Government’s changes to the welfare system is to encourage and support people into work.
“Alas, I hear regularly from people whose experience has been the exact opposite. Too many people are forced out of employment by cruel decisions over social security payments.”
He added: “For example, if the anticipated duration of a claimant’s incapacity is less than the qualifying period of a year, there is no assistance available to help them to get to work. That applies even if it’s not possible for them to use public transport.
“A little assistance with extra transport costs can make the difference between someone being able to continue working or having to leave their job and rely on welfare.
“Anyone can fall ill, just as anyone can have an accident. The system should provide a safety net for people who have fallen on hard times. The UK Government must look again and introduce a social security system which operates with compassion.”
Mr Nicolson has also raised the plight of people with dwarfism who risk losing their specially adapted cars, and thus their independence, because the new Personal Independence Payment assessments hinge on the ability to walk and take no account of the ability to use public transport.
He said: “Using public transport is especially challenging for people of short stature, some of whom do not have the stride length to be able to board trains at certain stations.
“Getting onto a seat in a bus or a train (if there is one available), can be challenging and humiliating. Many would prefer to stand but there are no handrails at the appropriate height to enable them to do so safely.
“There is no logic in making life so difficult for a group of people who experience challenges every day of their lives.”