St Ives MP backs campaign to make benefits test fair for people with mental illness

Posted on: 16th September 2013

AndrewGeorgeMPcapassAndrew George MP has backed a campaign by the national charity Rethink Mental Illness to make the Government’s fit-for-work test fair for people with mental illness.

Mr George pledged his support for the campaign after taking part in an event in Westminster last week, where the charity’s supporters asked MPs to prove they are fit for their jobs.

The event was organised by Rethink Mental Illness to give MPs a deeper insight into the flaws in the Government’s fit-for-work benefits tests.

Mr George went through an MP Capability Assessment, which mirrors the Work Capability Assessment, the controversial test used by the Government to decide whether thousands of people with mental illness and other disabilities, are entitled to financial support.

Roughly 20,000 people are going through the process every week, despite the fact that in a recent court case (1) three judges found that the tests put people with mental health problems  at a ‘substantial disadvantage’.

In August, Mr George received letters from our activists in St Ives constituency, similar to those sent by the Government, summoning him to yesterday’s assessment. He was asked to bring proof of identity and ‘evidence demonstrating your ability to be an MP.’

Lara Carmona, Head of Campaigns for Rethink Mental Illness said: “This was obviously a slightly tongue in cheek exercise, but there is a very serious message underpinning it. Just as our MP Capability Assessment doesn’t accurately reflect Andrew George’s ability to be an MP, neither does the Work Capability Assessment fairly judge whether someone with mental illness is able to work.

“That’s why we are delighted that Andrew has backed our call for the Government to make the fit-for-week test fair for people with mental illness. The system isn’t working, and it’s in everyone’s interests that we have a fair and accurate assessment process, which gets it right the first time. It could make a huge difference to some of the most vulnerable people in St Ives.”


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