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.