Aontú Deputy Leader & Cllr for Mid Ulster, Denise Mullen, has said CAPITA’s control over the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) scheme and their contract now for the Victims & Survivors Pensions is detrimental to the well-being and health of victims and survivors of the Troubles.
Cllr Mullen: “This is one of the areas of all too rare cross-community consensus in Northern politics – that CAPITA should not be running assessments that involve victims and survivors. Only a few weeks ago was CAPITA’s rejection of many PIP applications condemned as ‘unfair’ by the Public Services Ombudsman. Victims and survivors have described the anguish, the humiliation and the anxiety CAPITA’s management of assessments has induced. Their rejections have detrimented victims and survivors from all communities, and with physical, psychological and mental health conditions. The PIP scheme should be one that is rooted in fairness, compassion and justice. The arbitrary and opaque manner in which these assessments are carried out are anathema to these principles. Despite their conduct in relation to the PIP scheme, CAPITA have been awarded a new contract for the Victims and Survivors Pension. How this in the best interests of victims and survivors? However, I fear that CAPITA are doing exactly what they were appointed to do – which is to run a pensions scheme with the lowest potential cost possible. Focus is on the number of claims or amount paid out, as opposed to what is right.”
“I reject the notion put forward by the Justice Minister that CAPITA’s conduct in relation to the PIP scheme has the ‘confidence’ of victims and survivors. It certainly does not have mine or the confidence of any of the survivors or victims I have spoken to. And CAPITA’s subsequent contract for the Victims and Survivors Pension, certainly does not have my confidence or of victims and survivors. In fact, their appointment over the Victims and Survivors Pension has only served to detriment the well-being and mental health of people and communities who have already been through far too much. Why is the detrimental impact of CAPITA upon survivors not being factored into the decision-making process? This is just the latest instalment of the mistreatment and inadequacy we, victims and survivors, are treated to on a regular basis.”