Focus: Policy and Politics - Question Time - Doug Naysmith, Labour MP for Bristol North West

WHAT DOES YOUR EARLY DAY MOTION ADDRESS?

The difficulty that parents of young people with cancer and leukaemia have in accessing benefits.

At the end of the day, something like 98 per cent of parents succeed in getting benefits, but it's only after a totally unnecessary struggle.

What we're pressuring the Government to do is, first, make the benefits claims forms much easier to fill in, because they seem to require all sorts of unnecessary information.

WHAT ELSE?

The second thing we would like to change is the fact that parents can't even claim until 12 weeks have gone by since diagnosis. Those weeks are a kind of fallow period during which families can't get any money.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE PRESENT SYSTEM?

The system for the Disability Living Allowance doesn't really suit children who are suffering from very aggressive cancers. It's designed for people who have more long-term disabilities, so it matters less when it kicks in.

HOW DOES IT AFFECT FAMILIES?

Some parents have to give up work to look after their children and take them to centres far from their homes. The side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy mean the children have to be looked after carefully. The system isn't designed to deal with that.

HOW CAN THIS BE RESOLVED?

Clic Sargent is suggesting that, eventually, if 98 per cent of families receive the benefits, it will be prepared to pay for those who don't.

SO THE CHARITY WOULD REFUND THE GOVERNMENT?

The idea is to get the Government to give all families the money to start with. Clic Sargent says it will then refund the Government for the 2 per cent that eventually aren't entitled.

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