Cross-party report represents ‘yet another blow’ to controversial welfare reforms, says charity

The charity Rethink Mental Illness is calling on the Government to take action to improve fit-for-work tests, as a new Work and Pensions Committee report published today says the system must be completely redesigned.

Rethink Mental Illness CEO Mark Winstanley said: “This report represents yet another blow to the failing assessment process. It comes after repeated independent reviews have exposed huge flaws in the system and a court ruling last year found that the current assessment is unfair for people with mental health problems.

“How much more evidence do Ministers need before taking action? They have been dragging their heels on this issue for years while making vague and empty promises to improve. All this time, people with severe mental illnesses continue to be subjected to this broken test and many have wrongly had their benefits slashed.

“We’re pleased to see the Committee recommend that the DWP should gather medical evidence on behalf of those who are not able to do so themselves. This includes people with severe mental health problems, who may not have the mental capacity to navigate complex systems. It’s a scandal that under the current system, people who do not provide their own medical evidence from a doctor or psychiatrist, have their ability to work assessed without this evidence being taken into account.

“Making the system fair would protect ill and vulnerable people and also save taxpayers money by reducing costly and time-consuming appeals. It’s in everyone’s interest that the system gets it right first time.”
 

 


 


For more information about the report contact Gary Calde, Select Committee Media Officer 020 7219 7556 calderg@parliament.uk

For further comment or to set up an interview with Rethink Mental Illness contact Brian Semple, Senior Media Officer 0207 840 3043 brian.semple@rethink.org

Notes to editors

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.

For over 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.

We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.

For more information go to www.rethink.org

Rachel Hobbs 
News and Media Manager, Rethink Mental Illness
0207 840 3138
Tweet me! @Rachel_Rethink