Shropshire Disability Network has been invited to comment on the changes to ESA which will come before Parliament this week. You can see the Open Letter to Ian Duncan Smith and the Survey Commissioned by Mencap at the bottom of this post.
Express your view by participating in our poll of members at the end of the post or log in and make a comment.
Ahead of key vote in House of Lords over 30 national charities and Peers sign Open Letter to call on Government to stop £30-a-week cut to Employment and Support Allowance 71% of people think cuts to welfare will make the UK a worse place for disabled people to live 57% of people with a disability said that the amount they currently received was not enough to live on with more than a quarter(28%) of disabled people reporting that they couldn’t afford to eat, and over a third (38%) that they have been unable to heat their home
Ahead of a key vote this week in the House of Lords over 30 national charities, members of the Disability Benefits Consortium, have signed an open letter (below) to Iain Duncan Smith warning that the Government’s cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will “push disabled people further away from work and closer to poverty.”
Research from Mencap, a member of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), has also revealed the extent to which the public are against the Government’s cuts to welfare and the effect this will have on disabled people.
The general public poll of over 2,000 UK adults revealed that:
· 71% of people think cuts to welfare will make the UK a worse place for disabled people to live.
· Just 6% thought the Welfare Reform and Work Bill would make the UK a better place for disabled people.
The Government has proposed a cut of £30-a-week for new claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA. The WRAG is specifically there to provide support for those people who are assessed as being unfit for work but able to undertake activities to help them move towards work. Currently there are almost half a million sick and disabled people receiving this benefit.
The Government has however suggested that sick and disabled people who get this benefit are being disincentivised from finding work because of the £30-a-week more they get compared to those on Job Seeker’s Allowance. However the DBC strongly disputes this claim and a recent survey in October of over 500 disabled people found this to be completely false:
· Almost half (45%) of respondents say that the cut would probably mean they would return to work later
· Just 1% said the cut would motivate them to get a job sooner
· Almost 7 in 10 (69%) say cuts to ESA will cause their health to suffer
· More than a quarter (28%) say they sometimes can’t afford to eat on the current amount they receive from ESA
· 40% have become more isolated and less able to see friends or family after their ESA was withdrawn or reduced.
This warning comes just two weeks after over 100 disabled people from across the country visited Parliament to speak directly to their MPs about their concerns around the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, particularly the cut to ESA. This DBC ‘mass lobby’ took place on Wednesday 13th January and acted to show MPs the huge fears that exist amongst disabled people around their benefits.
Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive of Mencap which co-chairs the Disability Benefits Consortium, said:
“Not only are disabled people telling us loud and clear that this cut to ESA will make their lives harder, with both their health and chances of returning to work being harmed, we also see how the general public are deeply concerned with these cuts. The fact that just 6% of people believe the Welfare Reform and Work Bill will make the UK a better place for disabled people shows the urgent need for the Government to reassess its benefit reforms.
“Disabled people have told us of the vital role support from benefits like ESA plays in their lives, and the fact that so many say that taking this support away would leave them isolated from their communities, closer to poverty and further from work should be enough to make the Government listen – especially when this cut directly contradicts its noble desire to halve the disability employment gap.
“Ahead of this key vote in the House of Lords we ask Peers to listen to disabled people’s deep concerns, and urge the Government not to create a step backwards for disabled people.”.
Tell us what you think by voting in our membership poll:
- Yes this is an important issue for all disabled people and their carers 88%, 7 votes7 votes 88%7 votes - 88% of all votes
- No the changes to ESA are right and fair 13%, 1 vote1 vote 13%1 vote - 13% of all votes
- Don't know 0%, 0 votes0 votes0 votes - 0% of all votes
Thank you for supporting the poll on this important issue