The controversial Tory candidate for South Thanet, Craig Mackinlay, has failed to respond to a call for action on the PIP benefits system which, it’s claimed, drove a local disabled woman to her death,
Diane Hullah threw herself under a train in Margate earlier this year.
Her sister, Helen Young, said it was anxiety caused by trying to fill in a form for a Personal Independence Payment, which was the cause of Diane death – and this is backed up by what Diane wrote in her own journal.
Helen asked all the candidates in the general election for South Thanet if they will take action on PIP if they are elected – but Mr Mackinlay has said nothing.
Helen wrote: “As a candidate in the forthcoming general election I am asking you to pledge, that if you are elected, you will look hard at this issue and commit yourself to abolish this barbaric system. Unless it is abolished, I am terrified that more will die.” (Full text of Helen’s letter below.)
A week ago Thanet Watch emailed Helen’s letter directly to Tory candidate Craig Mackinlay.
But Mr Mackinlay, the area’s former MP who has consistently voted to toughen the benefits regime, has made NO response whatsoever.
The Labour Party’s Raushan Ara, is so far the only candidate to respond to Helen’s appeal.
She’s called for the scrapping of PIP.
She said: “It’s clear that the anxiety caused by filling in a form for the PIP played a major part in this woman’s tragic death. We cannot let other people suffer the same fate. We must scrap PIP and replace it with something more humane.”
The Labour Party manifesto includes a commitment to abolishing the PIP system and replacing it with a personalised, holistic assessment process providing each individual with a tailored plan.
Raushan said that if she is elected she will fight to make this a priority.
She said: “The PIP form seems to be specifically designed to put people off applying for benefits which they are entitled to. This is outrageous.”
She added: “My own son suffers from a disabling form of extreme autism, so as his carer I am only too aware of the needs of disabled people.”
HELEN’S LETTER TO THE CANDIDATES
This is an open letter to all candidates standing for election in South Thanet on June 8 asking you to act on a very urgent issue.
Earlier this year my sister, Diane, tragically took her own life by throwing herself in front of a train in Margate.
This was as a direct result of her anxiety over filling in a form applying for the benefits she needed to live on. I have the evidence of this in Diane’s own words written down in her journal.
Diane was disabled by mental health problems which made her incapable of working.
However, to be awarded any benefits she was required to fill in a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) form which, with continuation sheets, is around 50 pages long and is extremely difficult for anyone to complete.
In fact the form, and the system of which it is a part, seems specially designed to put people off from applying. For people with mental health issues this can have fatal consequences, as it did in my sister’s case.
I have heard of a similar case at the beginning of this year and I fear that more will follow.
As a candidate in the forthcoming general election I am asking you to pledge, that if you are elected, you will look hard at this issue and commit yourself to abolish this barbaric system. Unless it is abolished, I am terrified that more will die.
I look forward to hearing your response.
Helen Young, Broadstairs