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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

MP calls for benefit claimants' 'fit for work' tests to be filmed

Written by The Press Association

Work capability assessments should be filmed to stop benefit claimants being "shamed", a Tory MP has suggested.

Tania Mathias said she had concerns about the way in which the assessments are carried out on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

She also said she had met constituents who had been "treated worse" than the main character in Ken Loach's film I, Daniel Blake which focuses on life on benefits.

Speaking during the Christmas adjournment debate in the Commons, Ms Mathias said: "Many of us in this chamber have indeed seen the film, Ken Loach's film I, Daniel Blake and the very excellent acting of Dave Johns (pictured) in that film.

"It is a very moving film but what is more troubling for me is the people I have met in my surgery, not actors, people who have lived through the kind of scenes that are being portrayed by Ken Loach.

"I have seen people who have been treated worse than the character in I, Daniel Blake."

The MP for Twickenham suggested filming assessments would help ensure claimants are treated with dignity.

She said: "It is shameful that I have met people, a gentleman older than myself, who have been shamed in these assessments and who have not been given the respect they deserve.

"I believe that what is needed, a bit like having the police wearing body cameras, we need these assessments to be recorded - obviously with the agreement of the people going through these assessments - so that if there is a concern that somebody has not been treated with respect or worse has been shamed that the assessors can at least be shown why and how they have given this impression to people and that training can be put in place so that this never, ever happens.

"There needs to be recording and there needs to be better accountability.

"Nobody should ever, ever feel shamed going through this assessment."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2016, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.