Views & Reviews No Holds Barred

Margaret McCartney: Welfare is not a dirty word

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 03 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2447
  1. Margaret McCartney,
  2. general practitioner
  1. Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}

The UK chancellor’s budget originally proposed to cut personal independence payments (PIPs) by £1.3bn (€1.67bn; $1.9bn). An outcry, and a new secretary of state for welfare and pensions, reversed this proposal.

PIPs are not means tested and should allow people with disabilities to take part in life and work with equal opportunity. These payments should proudly promote equality. PIPs were overhauled from the old disability living allowance, supposedly to make savings. Because people may have been assessed only once, so the theory went, they may subsequently recover. This resulted in people with clearly lifelong, worsening, or terminal conditions …

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