McReynolds: Council should back MS society campaign

Alliance Councillor Peter McReynolds has called on Belfast City Council to back the scrapping of the 20 metre rule because of the detrimental effect it has those in need of Personal Independence Payments.

Under Disability Living Allowance individuals were required to be able to walk no further than 50 metres to obtain the higher rate mobility component, under PIP this has been drastically increased to no further than 20 metres – a move which has increased the struggle facing those with MS and other conditions.

Peter, who was diagnosed with MS in 2013 – said he was speaking out about the issue after reading the latest MS Society report, ‘PIP: A Step too Far”.

He added: “The MS society are a vital charity for those living with MS. They are facing a number of battles at the minute and tonight I want this Council to support their call for the Government to scrap the 20m rule.

“This is having a real effect on those living with MS and other chronic conditions. Due to the reduction in benefits going to people needing PIP we are seeing people having to reprioritise a life that is already difficult.

“Since the latest change one in three people have had their support downgraded, the number of people getting the rate mobility has dropped from 94% to 66% and nearly 60% have said that the change has had a direct effect on their physical health. These are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, aunts and uncles.

“I hope all Councillors will be able to get behind me and back this motion. What unites us in City Hall is our desire for the people of Belfast to live the best lives possible, a desire to make sure they have an excellent standard of living and it is clear to me that the current setup of PIP is full of issues that are exacerbating problems, not helping them.”

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