December 5 2013 Latest news:
Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
East Ham MP Stephen Timms is backing a campaign to make benefits test fair for people with mental illness
Mr Timms pledged his support for the campaign by national charity Rethink Mental Illness after taking part in an event in Westminster 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 Timms 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.
Lara Carmona, Head of Campaigns for the charity, 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 Stephen Timms’ 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 Stephen 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 east London.”
Roughly 20,000 people are going through the process every week, despite the fact that in a recent court case three judges found that the tests put people with mental health problems at a ‘substantial disadvantage’.