Scottish Liberal Democrats have penned an open letter to Ruth Davidson, asking whether she opposes new regulations from the UK Government that will mean thousands miss out on essential mental health support.
The UK Government last week opposed Liberal Democrat attempts to kill off proposals to severely restrict disability benefits. The new regulations tightening the criteria for claimants of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will see tens of thousands of people with mental health and anxiety conditions such as schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder miss out.
After tribunal rulings said PIP should increase for the thousands of people unable to go out alone due to severe psychological distress, the UK Government’s response was to rewrite the law to remove entitlements and rush it through with minimal scrutiny.
Last week, the Tories were right to join Liberal Democrats and campaigners in declaring that the SNP Government’s new mental health strategy would fail to deliver the transformation we desperately need to see.
However, in the very same week, her colleagues at Westminster were voting to strip personal independence payments from people with severe mental health and anxiety conditions.
If the Tories are to have any credibility on this issue then Ruth Davidson needs to also show that she is also willing to take on those in her own party who are set to discriminate against those suffering from mental ill health.
Time and again it has been shown that you can’t trust the Tories with mental health. Important initiatives have been abandoned and cash meant for mental health has been diverted to plug gaps elsewhere.
Now they are looking to make a deplorable attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society, showing no understanding of the support needs of people such as those trapped in their homes, too anxious to leave. Ruth Davidson needs to admit this is fundamentally wrong and at least try to do something about it.