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DR UK and our members respond to Commons defeat of Lords amendments

24 February 2016

The result of the Commons vote not to reinstate the 25% cut to new ESA claimants from April 2017 is bitterly disappointing.  

Liz Sayce DR UK CEO says:

"There is no evidence that the £30 a week paid to disabled people in the work related activity group acts as a disincentive to work.  

Instead, all the evidence from a recent Parliamentary review finds that the cut will make it difficult for disabled people to be able to afford to take part in things like training and work experience.  

It will also lead to disabled people struggling to pay food and heating bills which will have a damaging impact on their physical and mental health. 

Disability Rights UK members and supporters and other charities have lobbied hard for MPs to back the Lords amendments to the Welfare and Work Bill.  

The 38 Degrees petition against the ESA cut, which Disability Rights UK set up, and now has over 103,000 signatures. 

But the fight is not over yet as the Bill goes back to the Lords on Monday 29 February when we will again lobby for it to be amended again before it is sent back to the Commons.  

We will continue to argue that the best way to increase disabled peoples’ employment would be to reform the work capability assessment, improve work support and influence systemic changes with employers to overcome barriers to employment."

What some of our members say

Mencap

"The opposition across society to this cut is overwhelming.

People with a learning disability will be disappointed to see the Government continue to try and force this cut through despite their promise to protect disability benefits.

Just six per cent of people with a learning disability are in employment; however the Government are still yet to provide any robust evidence that cutting ESA WRAG will improve this number.

In fact the evidence available shows it will push disabled people further away from the job market, and closer to poverty."

Scope

“We’re disappointed that MPs have failed to recognise the harmful impact that reducing Employment and Support Allowance will have on disabled people.

Half a million disabled people will be affected by this measure – losing around £30 a week at a time when they are already struggling to make ends meet.

Reducing disabled people’s incomes won’t incentivise them to find a job. It will just make life harder.

The Government has committed to halving the disability employment gap, but cutting financial support is not the answer.

To achieve its ambitious target, the Government must invest in expert, tailored support and encourage employers to create flexible, modern workplaces.

The upcoming White Paper on disability, health and employment is an important opportunity to reform the system and make it work for disabled people.”