Local MSP Neil Findlay met with the MS Society in the Scottish Parliament last week to discuss Scotland’s newly devolved powers for social security.

The MSP showed his support for the campaign to ensure that Scotland’s new social security does not fail people living with disabilities across the country.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) Society Scotland visited Holyrood this week to urge the Scottish Government to scrap the nonsensical and unfair ‘20-metre rule’.

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) UK-wide system which people living in Scotland currently apply for is set to be devolved next year for new applicants.

The Scottish Government has pledged to end to PIP when powers are transferred to Holyrood but is to confirm whether the nonsensical arbitrary 20-metre rule, which states that anyone who can walk this short distance is not entitled to the higher rate of mobility assistance, will remain a part of the devolved system.

This widely unpopular rule can severely hit people’s independence and is a particularly poor fit for conditions like MS where people’s symptoms fluctuate.

Neil Findlay MSP said:

“It is imperative that new social security powers for Scotland are used to provide support for disabled people. A priority should be getting rid of the ’20 metre rule’ as a means of denying support to those who need it.

Morna Simpkins, director of MS Society Scotland, said:

“We’ve long known about the enormous harm caused when PIP takes vital support away from people with MS. Not only does the process lack respect for people and their lives but arbitrary and nonsensical conditions like the 20-metre rule can deprive people of vital support.

“We urge the Scottish Government to reform the assessment system – including the nonsensical and arbitrary 20-metre rule.

“We have heard pledges that under devolution the system will treat people with respect and dignity and what we have heard from our community is that for that to happen then, simply put, this rule must be scrapped.

“MS can be painful and exhausting, it shouldn’t be made harder by a welfare system that doesn’t make sense.”

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