I want to first pay tribute to the RNIB and to the invaluable work they do to help improve the lives of blind and partially-sighted people in the UK, and I am especially pleased that, thanks to their input in policy changes, over £50 billion is now spent on providing support to people with disabilities and health conditions – such as blindness – so they can live as independently as possible. This is £7 billion more than in 2010, and amounts to 6 per cent of all Government spending.
On the particular issue of PIP assessments, I would note that they are designed, specifically, to ensure partially sighted people do get appropriate support, including the principle that an individual who satisfies more than one descriptor within an activity should receive the one worth the greater number of points. For example, it means that someone who may be able to read at home using a magnifier, but is unable to read something like a sign, would be awarded the maximum points available for that activity.
This provides a fairer system than the previous Disability Living Allowance, as it focuses help on those who need it most, and can respond to fluctuating needs of individuals.
There is more to do, to improve the assessment process. However, I am reassured that, generally, PIP assessors make the right decision when handling claims, and that the number of appeals against assessment findings will fall as the Government refines its system.