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“MAKE BENEFITS TEST FAIR FOR THOSE WITH MENTAL ILLNESSES IN STOCKPORT” says Stunell

October 2, 2013 3:54 PM

Andrew Stunell, MP for Hazel Grove, has backed Rethink Mental Illness's campaign to make the Government's fit-for-work test fair for people with mental illness.

Andrew joined the Rethink campaign by taking part in a novel test for MPs designed to mimic the Government's real fit-for-work benefits tests.

Commenting, Andrew said -

"I've been asking Ministers to make sure constituents with mental health problems are assessed fairly, and I can see cases where that hasn't been true. That is not just unfair on them, causing a lot of extra stress, but it also clogs up the appeals system because so many are got wrong. Maybe the test was a bit light-hearted, but it certainly made the point that if the testing system isn't fit for the job, it will give the wrong answer far too often."

Sir Andrew 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. The tests have been criticised by judges as putting people with mental health problems at a 'substantial disadvantage'.

Lara Carmona, Head of Campaigns for Rethink Mental Illness 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 Sir Andrew's 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 Sir Andrew 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 Stockport."