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Changes to disability benefits cost £4bn in extra welfare payments

OBR’s figures will bolster disability groups’ calls for overhaul of PIP system

Changes to the disability benefits system that has caused huge hardship to some of the country’s most vulnerable people has cost the government more than £4bn more in extra welfare payments than ministers estimated.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the Treasury’s independent forecasting unit, said predictions by the Department for Work and Pensions dramatically under-estimated the costs of rolling out the personal independent payments (PIP) system, which began to replace disability living allowance (DLA) in 2013.

A saving of £2bn was expected by 2018, but that has since been revised to an over-spend by £1.5bn to £2bn, leaving an estimated £4.2bn gap in the public finances.

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