The Disability News Service is reporting that a work and pensions committee inquiry into PIP and ESA assessments has received more evidence from the public than any other investigation ever held by a House of Commons select committee. Benefits and Work readers have played a large part in setting that record.
The inquiry was launched on 29 September 2017. Members of the public and professionals were invited to give their experiences of PIP and ESA assessments.
Usually such inquiries will attract 100 or so posts and a similar number of written responses. This time the final total was 2,828 posts and 450 written submissions.
18 days after the inquiry began, on 17 October, there had been just over 500 responses on the online forum. That was the date on which we encouraged our readers to take part.
In the next 24 days, until the forum closed on 10 November, the number of responses increased more than fivefold to a final total of 2,828 responses.
The number of posts was so unexpected that they have still not all been published.
The committee have said on their website:
“We have received an overwhelming response on this forum and we are really grateful to all of you who have posted. We moderate this forum so posts that breach discussion rules do not appear: please bear with us while we approve and post the comments you've sent us. Please be assured we are reading them all, and what you have told us will contribute to our inquiry.”
We have no doubt that Benefits and Work readers played a huge part in ensuring that the committee was given a very clear idea of the strength of feeling about PIP and ESA assessments.
The committee will start taking oral evidence next week, beginning with 5 PIP and ESA claimants and 4 advice workers.