Cuts to Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) – David Allkins’ report from Westminster

Cuts to Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) – David Allkins’ report from Westminster


It’s time for change in Parliament. Specifically, the Government’s proposed
Welfare Reform and Work Bill is cutting the
WRAG element of ESA for disabled people. I caught up with the Shadow Minister
for Disability Debbie Abrahams to ask her opinion on this. Do you think that disabled people who
are in receipt of ESA will have more of an incentive to work
after the WRAG element of £30
is removed from this Government benefit? No, I don’t. I think this is quite a ridiculous thing for the Government to be claiming We already know that people who are in the Employment & Support Allowance Work-Related Activity Group have been found not fit for work, so to suggest that, by taking almost a third of their weekly income off them, this is somehow going to make it easier for them, or to incentivise them into work is is quite a silly thing to say. It’s a cruel way, I think, to… a cruel thing to be doing to disabled people. The Minister for Disabled People,
Justin Tomlinson, was kind enough to send the following statement for my report: I attended a special joint meeting of the
All-Party Parliamentary Groups on
Disability and Learning Disability but, due to parliamentary rules, we weren’t
allowed to film. I asked the Minister whether he thought it might be a good idea to wait
and see what effect cutting £30 of benefit might have on disabled people
before rolling this policy out. His answer was that the Government is constantly reviewing its policies. Victoria Holloway is co-chair of the
Disability Benefits Consortium and represents
this group of disability charities. We’re particularly concerned at the Disability Benefits Consortium about the cut to the Employment & Support Allowance
Work-Related Activity Group. This would mean a cut of nearly £30 a week
to those in that group. We know from recent research that 70% believe that
it will have a huge impact on their ability to find work … and their condition and their health, and this is supported by MS Society research, which also found that large numbers of people have had to cut back on their food and socialising. We have evidence to show that it will
have a massive impact, we are very concerned that this impact will be detrimental to disabled people and
we want it removed from the Bill. As we have seen, the Welfare Reform and Work Bill remains a contentious issue. It remains to be seen if the Government will investigate the impact of these changes on people
before coming to a decision.