Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East, has revealed Government figures that show a 40 per cent increase in time taken to consider benefit decision appeals in Barnsley.
The statistics show that mandatory reconsideration of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decisions increased on average by 13 days for the last 12 months in which figures are available.
Mandatory reconsiderations allow claimants to challenge DWP decisions on PIP if they disagree with the initial ruling.
In February 2018, the average time taken for the Government to fully consider a mandatory reconsideration in Barnsley was 31 days.
By January 2019, this had increased to 44 days – meaning applicants are forced to wait over six weeks for a decision.
Across South Yorkshire, clearance times increased by 17 days.
Nationally, the average time taken for mandatory reconsideration rose to 54 days, an increase of over 86 percent over the same period.
Personal Independence Payment provides help to people with long-term ill-health or disability, helping with daily activities or getting around.
The figures were admitted by the Government through parliamentary questions submitted by the Barnsley MP, who commented: “PIP is a vital source of help for people who require assistance because of ill-health or disability, yet those in need are finding it increasingly difficult to access under this Government.
“The time taken for the DWP to decide on mandatory reconsiderations of their own decisions have increased by nearly 2 weeks in Barnsley alone over the last year.
“People in desperate need of assistance and support should not be made to wait for increasingly long times by this Tory Government for the help they need just to go about their daily lives.”
Stephanie has also backed the Labour Party’s declaration of a national climate and environment emergency.
The decision was taken by the party in the House of Commons, following a wave of motions passed by local councils declaring a climate emergency and calls to tackle increasing global temperatures.
The ‘Climate Emergency’ is an internationally recognised declaration being used around the world to publicly declare concern over the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings.
The IPCC’s recent Special Report, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise in global temperatures would cause.
Last week it was revealed that the UK will miss almost all its 2020 nature targets, with 14 out of 19 biodiversity targets currently not being met by the government.
Said Stephanie: “Species decline, habitat destruction and climate change are progressing at an alarming rate, risking livelihoods, food supply, landscapes, infrastructure, and public health – it’s absolutely vital we address this threat now with urgent action.
“But rather than the radical action required, austerity under this Tory government has had a serious impact on our natural world, with vital agencies such as Natural England having their budgets slashed in half and staff morale at an all-time low.
“Labour will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution, and invest in clean transport and energy that will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”