-- Advertisement --

The High Court just ruled that Tory benefit changes ‘blatantly discriminate’ against mental health patients

-- Advertisement --

Stay in touch!

Sign up to be updated with Evolve's latest stories, and for opportunities to get involved.

It’s been a terrible week for austerity, welfare reform and disgraced former DWP Secretary Damian Green.

Following Green’s departure and the removal of the DWP’s 80% target for refusing Mandatory Reconsiderations, the High Court has now handed disabled claimants another early Christmas present.

The Tories’ changes to the qualifying rules for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which barred 164,000 disabled claimants from receiving the higher mobility rate have been ruled discriminatory and unlawful by the High Court after the judge found that the changes ‘blatantly discriminate’ against those with mental health conditions.

Subject to whether the DWP is given leave to appeal, the ruling could prove enormously helpful to claimants whose benefits were unlawfully cut on Green’s watch.

Showdown at the High Court.

In the landmark ruling, Judge Mostyn described the Tories’ changes as ‘manifestly without reasonable foundation’, and commented that the Tories’ wish to save money couldn’t justify such an unreasonable measure.

Quashing the Statutory Instrument, Mostyn ruled that the State lacked the power to create such rules and should have consulted before making them as they sought to undermine the very purpose of PIP itself.

According to one report:

The Secretary of State accepted that the testing carried out for PIP had not looked at whether the basis for treating those with psychological distress differently was sound or not and the testing actually done was limited.

Judge Mostyn also examined the recent UN report condemning Government’s treatment of the sick and disabled under austerity policies and welfare reform.

According to Judge Mostyn, austerity policy’s incompatibility with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities supported his own finding that the DWP’s rule changes had no objective justification.

Whether Judge Mostyn’s ruling will stand is another matter. If the DWP are granted leave to appeal, they very likely will. That, however, won’t be decided until early-2018. If they aren’t given leave to appeal, Judge Mostyn’s ruling could open the floodgates for thousands seeking to have their cases reviewed and awards amended.

The DWP, however, sees things differently. According to a spokesperson;

PIP replaced a system that was less generous for people with mental health conditions and is designed to consider the broader picture of how someone’s life is affected by their disability or health condition.


We are disappointed the judgment fails to recognise that PIP provides more support to people with mental health conditions than ever before.

Welfare Reform: The DWP Changes The PIP Rules.

The DWP had responded to an earlier tribunal ruling regarding the mobility needs of those suffering mental and psychological problems by quietly changing their rules. In doing so, thousands of PIP claimants who face difficulty planning and following journeys due to psychological stress (or simply can’t do so) were barred from receiving the higher rate mobility component.

According to the Government’s own Equality Impact Statement, some 164,000 were disqualified from receiving the enhanced rate while, of those, some 132,000 wouldn’t qualify for PIP’s mobility component at all. An enormous saving for the DWP’s welfare reform policies and a tacit snub to the Tribunals Service, a body whose relationship with the DWP has become increasingly fraught.

A claimant identified only as ‘RF’ challenged the changes, represented by the Public Law Project and supported by the National Autistic Society, Inclusion London, Revolving Doors and Disability Rights UK. Today’s ruling could have huge implications both for PIP claimants and welfare reforms in general.

So whilst disgraced former DWP boss Damian Green receives a tax-free £17,000 pay-out on his departure from as First Secretary, welfare claimants are still left to wonder if they will receive the awards they are doubtless hoping for. These changes, enforced during Green’s tenure, have led to a different body of opinion;

That austerity has supported the sick and disabled in the same way a hangman’s noose supports a convict.

Become An Evolve Politics Subscriber

Your subscriptions go directly into paying our writers a standard fee for every article they produce. So if you want to help us stay truly independent, please think about subscribing. We literally couldn’t function without the support of our fantastic readers.


Or a One-Off Donation to Evolve Politics

If you don’t want to subscribe, but still want to contribute to our project, you can make a one-off donation via the donate button below. All your donations go directly to our writers for their work in exposing injustice, inequality and unfairness.

-- Advertisement --

Evolve needs your help more than ever!

We rely on the generosity of our readers to help fund the majority of our work - but we need a little more to make ends meet and enable us to grow.

If we can reach 1,000 regular subscribers, we will become entirely financially sustainable - and we'll also have a little extra so we can build upwards and outwards to make our work have an even bigger impact.

In the last month alone, our work on the Environment Bill has helped force a change in the law for the better. And, since Evolve was founded, our uniquely viral style of journalism has repeatedly put the establishment on the back foot and helped force genuinely positive progression.

But we want to do far more - and we need your help to do it.

The best way you can help us is by becoming a Monthly or Annual subscriber. This kind of regular income allows us to better plan for the future - firstly so we can pay the bills, and then so we can set aside funds and time to work on extra projects.

However, if you can't commit to a regular payment, one-off donations - no matter how small - also make a big difference to us, and we genuinely make the most of every single penny.

So, if you appreciate the work that Evolve does and you want to see us make an even bigger impact on the world, please think about contributing to our work in whatever way you possibly can.

Tom D. Rogers

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Jess Miller

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Subscriber-Only Comments