Steve McCabe MP condemns Government plans to cut benefits for people too ill to work

Steve McCabe MP has condemned the Government’s proposals to cut benefits for people too ill to work, pushing some of the most vulnerable even further into poverty when they should be focusing on recovering from ill health.

Steve has heard from a number of constituents and their carers, worried about the impact of the government’s proposals to reduce the amount of Employment Support Allowance they receive, a vital lifeline for many people who are too ill to work.

The proposals seek to reduce the amount paid to new claimants in the ESA Work Related Activity Group and if implemented, would effectively lead to the most vulnerable people in our society being financially penalised. In current payment terms, this would represent a reduction of approximately 30% (£102.15 to £73.10), a loss of around £30 every fortnight.

A Parliamentary Review carried out towards the end of last year showed that this will have devastating consequences on the health, employability and wellbeing of people who are too ill to work. The review received evidence and submissions from over 30 disability rights organisations who unanimously called for a reversal of the government’s plans.  This week the plans were scrutinised further by the House of Lords and blocked by a majority of 85 votes.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“I’m glad that the government’s ESA proposals have been blocked by the House of Lords as was the case with the tax credit reforms. This government seems intent on targeting the most vulnerable in our society as part of their austerity agenda and the plans are clearly part of a wider project to reduce the number of disability benefit claims.

 “I think it is absolutely shameful that people who are suffering from life threatening illnesses should be treated in the same regard as someone claiming JSA. There is an inherent difference between someone wanting to go back to work and someone being physically and mentally able to do so.  I don’t think that people should face further financial pressure at a time when they should be focusing on their recovery. I’m pleased the plans have been blocked for now but I don’t think the government will relent on this issue or on their attacks on the most vulnerable.”

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