Northern Isles MP joins MS Society to back call for full review of PIP process

27 Oct 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael has this week backed MS Society calls for a review into the way Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are handled for people with MS.

At the #10yearsofPIP event on Wednesday, hosted by the MS Society, Mr Carmichael heard about the charity’s new report ‘PIP and MS: A Decade of Failure’, which reveals that two-thirds (65%) of people with MS said going through the process had a negative or very negative impact on their physical and mental health.  

Over 130,000 people in the UK live with MS, with 130 diagnosed each week. MS is a condition where the immune system attacks the coating which protects our nerves. Symptoms are different for everybody, but can often be invisible, and can fluctuate from day-to-day. However, the rigid PIP assessment criteria fails to take this into account.  

Mr Carmichael said:

“The MS Society’s campaign highlights the heavy impact that PIP assessments are having on people with MS in the Northern Isles and across the UK. This is an illness which has a disproportionate impact in the isles, so properly reviewing the way PIP works is all the more urgent.

“There are reasons why PIP assessments are the way that they are but I doubt even officials at the Department for Work and Pensions would argue that they are perfect. There cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach for MS – I hope that ministers will take that into consideration.”

Anastasia Berry, Policy Manager at the MS Society, said:

“We’re grateful to Mr Carmichael for attending our ‘A decade of PIP’ event, as his support is invaluable. Ten years of a broken PIP system has meant a decade of stress, indignity and humiliation for people with MS. And our latest report ‘PIP and MS: A Decade of Failure’ reveals the devastating impact it can have on both physical and mental health. The Government must fix PIP now and stop failing people with MS.” 

After the event, the MS Society delivered its 22,254-signature petition to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) calling on the Government to review and overhaul the PIP process, ensuring it more accurately reflects how people are impacted by living with MS.