Forres man will not appeal ‘despicable’ DWP decision

Motability - Moray man one of many who are having their rights under the scheme removed
Motability – Forres campaigner one of many who are having their rights under the scheme removed

A MORAY MAN who made national headlines last week after falling foul of DWP reforms will not appeal the decision that sought to rob him of his mobility.

Chris Bridgeford has been a leading campaigner for the rights of those suffering from chronic pain and disability issues in Moray, forcing NHS Grampian to recognise the need for a chronic pain clinic based in Moray.

Mr Bridgeford, 57, created a support group in the region for the dozens of Moray-based sufferers who were being forced to travel to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for treatment – greatly increasing the stress and pain they were under.

Then last week he received the devastating news that the Department of Work and Pensions was withdrawing the vehicle he used through the welfare disability scheme – of which he had been entitled since joining the mobility scheme in 1983.

A sufferer of ‘complex regional pain syndrome’, Mr Bridgeford, who lives in Forres, had attended a DWP assessment last month in Inverness after which he was resigned to losing his car after what he described as “a quite horrendous” experience.

He subsequently received an eight-page letter notifying him that he was one of hundreds of sufferers who were having their rights under the scheme removed, and ordering him to return his vehicle this month.

Now, despite being urged to appeal, he has decided against that line of action, saying that after discussing the issue with his wife and the fact that the process was so heavily weighted in favour of the DWP he would accept his lot.

Posting on social media, Mr Bridgeford said: “After a lot of thought, Rosie and I have decided not to appeal the PIP decision which took away my motability car after 33 years.

“We knew we had a good case for appeal but on looking at the appeal process and the way it is weighted in favour of the DWP, we’ve decided to take the easy way out. What swayed my mind was the fact that PIP will come under the Scottish Government in a year or so and I’m quite sure it will be a more sympathetic and virtuous scheme than under the despicable Tories.”

Mr Bridgeford added that he would now use funds allocated for his daily care and add that to the standard rate of mobility allowance, using that to help pay for a small car. He added: “This means I lose out on the care award but I’d rather have the freedom a car brings.

“There will a lot of people affected in this area soon because the DWP have just started re-assessing here.

“If people know anyone who is to go through this, tell them to get advice from CAB or join my chronic pain group at http://www.facebook/groups/affasair where they can get help and support.”