MSP Linda Fabiani says Robert Johnston’s case ‘highlights how absurd and cruel the welfare system has become’ under the Conservative government.
Benefits chiefs took a man’s Motability car to save £6000 – then offered to pay £14,000 to cover the cost of the taxis he’d need in its place. Robert Johnston has an arthritis-type condition which means he can’t walk unaided. The 49-year-old, of East Kilbride, lost his eligibility for the Motability scheme and was given an Access to Work grant after a benefits review.
He had received £58 a week to pay for his Nissan Qashqai – but now gets £130 a week to cover cab fares to his work as a South Lanarkshire Council registrar in Hamilton.
His MSP Linda Fabiani said: “Mr Johnston’s case highlights how absurd and cruel the
welfare system has become under the Tories. “By taking away his Motability car, the Tories have taken away Mr Johnston’s independence – but then they’ve said they’ll pay for taxi fares at twice the price. CRAZY DOESN’T BEGIN TO CUT IT!
“That’s certainly bad value for the public purse – and how many more people are being placed in the same situation as Mr Johnston? It’s just ridiculous. “The DWP need to urgently look at this case and realise how daft the system has become. “While Scotland now has some limited powers over social security, this underlines the case for all welfare to be controlled by the Scottish Parliament.”
Robert’s degenerative condition, known as ankylosing spondylitis, causes his spine bones to fuse together. He is one of 14,000 disabled people who have had their cars taken away under the changes. Others include record-breaking Paralympian Kenny Churchill. UK Disabilities Minister Sarah Newton said disability allowance changes would be a “difficult time” for claimants but insisted only a “small number” were costing the taxpayer more.
Robert said: “They have taken away my independence. I don’t have a social life any more. “If I want to go to the shops or the doctor, I need to rely on people to take me there. I can’t even visit my parents’ graveyard because it is out of town.”
A DWP spokeswoman said: “Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Access to Work are designed for two different purposes. YEAH DENYING THE BENEFIT & FIGHTING ALL APPEALS
“PIP is a benefit designed to support people with the extra costs they face due to their disability, while Access to Work is a grant designed to help disabled people get into or stay in work. “Most people leaving the Motability scheme are eligible for a one-off payment of up to £2000 to help meet their needs.”
Last year, the DWP axed the £8000 Motability car allowance for multiple sclerosis sufferer Jan Davis – but agreed to pay £65,000 over three years for taxis.
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