DWP benefits including PIP to undergo big changes under Labour Government | Personal Finance | Finance

Big changes to Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Universal Credit and the welfare system are expected under Labour.

Details in the party’s election manifesto were vague, however it has pledged a review of the entire benefits system.

Labour has indicated that a new regime will focus on helping and supporting people to find a way into the workforce.

This includes improving access to hospital treatment and mental health services, where demand has spiralled since the pandemic.

However, tellingly the party’s manifesto also stressed it will take a tough line against people who play the system stating: “People who can work, should work”.

The number of people claiming PIP, which is the main disability benefit, reached 3.3 million this year, which is up by around 1 million in three years.

Rishi Sunak suggested it would be possible to cut £12 billion from the welfare bill should the Conservatives win the election, something Labour refused to endorse.

The Conservatives proposed shifting from cash benefits to a system of vouchers, treatments, and shopping schemes, which proved to be highly controversial.

By contrast, Labour has indicated that it will lead a drive designed to ensure hundreds of thousands of people can be supported to find a paying job, rather than being stigmatised or punished.

The Labour manifesto said the party is committed to “reviewing universal credit so that it makes work pay and tackles poverty”.

It added: “We want to end mass dependence on emergency food parcels, which is a moral scar on our society.”

Labour’s Alison McGovern, who has been made a minister in the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), recently gave a newspaper interview in which she said the current welfare system demands “big changes” including replacing job centres with more bespoke and localised support for unemployed people.

Speaking before the election she questioned PIP and the way it works, saying it was the creation of a Conservative government.

She said: “PIP replaced DLA (Disability Living Allowance), and now we are hearing that PIP is the problem.”

Significantly, the party has pledged to improve the system of work capability assessments and address the backlog of Access to Work claims, ensuring disabled individuals can pursue employment without the immediate threat of losing benefits.

The party said: “We believe the Work Capability Assessment is not working and needs to be reformed or replaced, alongside a proper plan to support disabled people to work.”

The new minister said the party wanted to see a system that allowed disabled people to live independently and enable as many as possible to work.

The Labour manifesto stated: “Our system will be underpinned by rights and responsibilities people who can work, should work and there will be consequences for those who do not fulfil their obligations.

“Long waits for treatment of health conditions, particularly mental health, are contributing to the rise in economic inactivity.”

Significantly, it added: “Labour will reform employment support so it drives growth and opportunity.”

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