I told the Secretary of State that more than 700,000 people are still waiting for work capability assessments and that the length of delays people are experiencing are pushing them into destitution.
Over the last two years I have had more casework on this than on anything else. However, I am not unique in this, and this is a problem that is truly nationwide.
I was able to raises cases from around North East Derbyshire, like that of Jamie Thompson who is paraplegic and yet is called in for re-assessment every couple of months. Even though his condition will never change, he is constantly asked for medical records.
In another case a father got in touch with me about his 15-year-old daughter Ella who is so severely disabled that she needs around-the-clock care. Both her parents work, have always worked, have never claimed benefits, but Ella has now had her disability allowance withdrawn, which has pushed her parents into serious financial trouble. They have waited for three months for their appeal to be heard.
The welfare state is designed as a safety net to catch people who cannot help themselves – that is especially true for those with severe disabilities, who just cannot work. But I am worried that that safety net is being withdrawn under this Government and it was depressing to hear the Secretary of State not even admit that there were any problems with his department.