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Dietary requirement irrelevant to PIP preparing food test

19 September 2017

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Personal independence payment

CPIP/2723/2016: Whether dietary requirements of claimant are relevant to ability to prepare and cook a simple meal

Upper Tribunal Judge Wright 

The key focus on this appeal is on activity 1 – “preparing food” - in Part

2 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (“the PIP Regs”). The issue on the appeal was to what extent, if any, preparing the “right” or “dietary appropriate” food falls to be considered under activity 1.

In considering this issue, Judge Wright says that broadly speaking the tasks or mental and physical processes involved in the activity of “preparing food” cover the following: making food ready for eating or cooking using fresh ingredients, and heating at or above waist height a one course meal for one using fresh ingredients.

It is the carrying out of those tasks or processes he says, which has to be done safely and to an acceptable standard:

“In other words, it is the task of cooking in the sense of heating food at or above waist height that needs to done safely and to an acceptable standard.

That does not, it seems to me, put any focus on the dietary content of that which is being cooked, beyond the need for the use of fresh ingredients.  Likewise, it is the physical and mental processes needed to be able make a one-course meal for one using fresh ingredients ready for cooking (or eating) which need to be done safely and to an acceptable standard. That will involve assessing the tasks needed to be able to prepare a simple meal for cooking. Those tasks I can readily see will include opening packaging, lifting and carrying, washing food, and peeling, chopping and cutting up the (fresh) foodstuffs.

 However, beyond these tasks associated with making a simple meal using fresh ingredients, I do not see where the dietary content of that which is being prepared or cooked falls to be taken into account. 

The statutory language of “a simple meal” and “a cooked one-course meal for one”, as opposed to “a cooked one-course meal for the claimant”  or “a suitable meal”,  as well as that statutory language only referring to the content of that which is being prepared of cooked in terms of “fresh ingredients”, in my judgment points against particular dietary requirements (other than fresh ingredients) falling within the scope of that which falls to be considered under Activity 1 “Preparing food.”                                                                                                       

 Ken Butler

19 September 2017

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