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Investigation launched into claims people in Burton are still being forced to pay to prove they can't work

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: September 03, 2014

By Rich Guttridge

Comments (4)

A GOVERNMENT minister has vowed to investigate claims that people in Burton are being made to pay up to £135 to prove they can't work – more than a year after the issue was first raised.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mark Harper said he would look into suggestions GPs were charging people with disabilities to fight rulings that they were fit to work, after being challenged in Parliament by the town's MP Andrew Griffiths.

Mr Griffiths said he felt compelled to raise the issue having been alerted by East Staffordshire Citizens Advice Bureau – which first told the Mail about the problem in August 2013.

The CAB said it had continued to receive complaints from disabled people, saying doctors had either refused to provide medical evidence to back up the case, or that they would only do it for a hefty fee.

Chief executive Dawn Green said: "I'm aware of two cases on Monday that were presented to us, so it is clearly still a big issue. It is a lot of money for people with little or no income."

Mr Griffiths told the Commons: "Does (Mr Harper) share my concern that vulnerable people on benefits are being charged this amount of money and may actually not be able to access benefits to which they are entitled?"

Fellow politician Frank Field said 'a group who are among the top one per cent of salary earners' were charging 'extraordinary rates'.

But Mrs Green defended GPs, saying she believed pressures and lack of time could be making them feel they needed to charge.

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4 comments

  • mattlong  |  September 04 2014, 12:27AM

    Terry, thanks for raising the important issue of the charges for a medical support letter and that's the thrust of what this post should be about. Once again I'll make some points about your 'style' though. 1. Let the public decide whether Andrew Griffiths is electioneering or not. Don't try and 'tell' them because people don't learn from being told, they learn from being asked an intrinsic question. 2. Your inclusion of the comments about bedroom tax and food banks (although valid and which I wholly agree with) strategically takes the left from beginning to put our MP into a corner through well picked punches into a position whereby you are swinging blindly at him without focus. He does not enjoy that as no one likes being attacked but he is comfortable with you giving him the chance to escape from the ropes because you have let him off the proverbial hook by returning to a generalist rather than a specific debate. 3. Like most on the political left ideologically you are right but strategically you are lacking. Follow the thread of conversation and you will see why you have inadvertently played into AG's hands by launching an all out attack which lacks focus. Oh and by the way, I would respect you even more of you had the courage to add your surname to your Christian name as I have. Would the greats of the left hide their identities? Would Mandela have posted anonymously on anti-apartheid websites?! Laughable isn't it?

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  • Terry  |  September 03 2014, 10:55PM

    Indeed Paul this is blatant electioneering, Andrew Griffiths recently voted against a debate on food banks, and voted for the bedroom tax, and supported IDS in his war on the disabled and more vulnerable in our society. But back to the point, my surgery in Wetmore road, charges £99 for a medical support letter, this is profiteering from the sick.

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  • mattlong  |  September 03 2014, 8:06PM

    This is a genuine question which I don't know the answer to....Did Andrew Griffiths (a) reply to you Paul and (b) offer a rationale for non attendance?

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  • pwalker150  |  September 03 2014, 5:23PM

    It's amazing isn't it Andrew Griffiths voted for the governments welfare cuts and the current horrific attacks on Disabled people yet now he is coming out in support of Disabled people. It seems he does one thing in parliament and another for the public. The electioneering from him his quite incredible. Last year I invited members of the group Disabled People Against Cuts to Burton to talk and campaign against transport cuts and campaign for improved access for transport for disabled passengers. They have since been back again. Andrew Griffiths never came. I also went to parliament to support DPAC as they handed in the Disabled Persons manifesto. I wrote to Andrew asking if he would support it by attending the meeting in parliament. Guess what he never came. Why? because this is a politician has supported this governments draconian welfare reforms. I am totally opposed to governments attacks on the most vulnerable in our society. There are simple questions we've got to ask our MP. Do you support those that campaign for a better and fairer society for Disabled people or are you happy propping up the governments austerity measures like you have done for the past four years. Votes one thing says another. Sounds like blatant electioneering

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