Crabb was justifying to his Pembrokeshire constituents why he voted with the government earlier this month for a £30 a week reduction in benefit that will affect 500,000 ESA claimants in the work-related activity group (Wrag).
He wrote on Facebook– less than two days before he was appointed welfare secretary – that the Wrag cut only affected people who were “able to work”, and that the reduction, coupled with specialised employment coaching, would help them get a job.
He added: “Any disabled person who is unable to work due to ill health or disability is in the support group of ESA. They are wholly unaffected by the change, as only those who are fit to work and actively seeking work are included in the work-related activity group.”
Campaigners said the Wrag consists of ill and disabled claimants who have been found not fit to work following an official work capability assessment, but who are deemed to be capable of working at some point in the future.
This Writer particularly likes the comment from Jonathan Portes:
Jonathan Portes, an economist at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said: “At best Stephen Crabb’s statement displays gross ignorance. He voted to cut benefits to people who have been placed into the work-related activity group – that is, people who the government’s own tests show are not currently fit for work and cannot now be expected to work.
“He then justified this vote to his constituents by claiming the precise opposite – in other words, with an outright falsehood. It is to be hoped that he educates himself very quickly indeed about how the benefit system actually works.”
That’s right – Stephen Crabb has begun his tenure as Work and Pensions secretary with a lie.
This does not bode well for the future, although it is par for the course.
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