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Harrington Review

Volume 534: debated on Monday 24 October 2011

11. What assessment he has made of progress towards implementation of the recommendations of the Harrington review of the work capability assessment. (75994)

We took steps earlier this year to ensure that all the recommendations in Professor Harrington’s first report were implemented in time for the start of the national migration from incapacity benefit. I expect to receive Professor Harrington’s second report, telling us how well he thinks we are doing on that front, shortly.

Given the Minister’s earlier comments, I am sure that he is well aware of the progressive and incurable nature of Parkinson’s disease. A constituent of mine with Parkinson’s has been called for his third work capability assessment, despite appealing the previous two incorrect decisions by Atos and the decision makers. Will the Minister undertake to meet me and Parkinson’s UK, so that he can understand better how in practice the work capability assessment, rather than helping people who can work, too often hounds those who will not get better?

The hon. Gentleman has to understand that one of the great failings of our welfare state over the past decade has been that we have left people on the sidelines year after year without checking to see what their condition is or what the potential alternatives are. I am very happy to meet Parkinson’s UK and the hon. Gentleman. I well understand the challenges that the disease presents for those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from it, but we cannot simply go back to a situation in which we leave people year after year without even checking what their condition is.