The DWP said the system was in need of reform ‘as it trapped many disabled people on welfare’ [Image: Alamy].

The DWP said the system was in need of reform ‘as it trapped many disabled people on welfare’ [Image: Alamy].

This is to be welcomed – although the reporting of it leaves a little to be desired.

It is good to see four Conservative MPs joining calls for Parliament to consider postponing the £29-per-week cut in ESA for people in the Work-Related Activity Group.

But this Guardian report by Jessica Elgot starts by saying they’re joining the SNP in the call, when Labour and the Liberal Democrats are also demanding a debate. Why not lump them all together? Is there a political agenda in hiding the involvement of Labour and the Lib Dems?

The comment from the DWP would be hilarious if it wasn’t so dangerous. Did anybody bother asking the sick and disabled if they felt “trapped” on benefits, before the Department embarked on its great plan to tip as many people off benefit as possible? I’m guessing they didn’t.

So we end up with a situation in which, between December 2011 and the end of May 2014, 9,400 people in the Work-Related Activity Group died.

These are people who are, by definition, expected to recover from their illness within a year, yet their mortality rate dwarfs that among the general population.

And the Conservative Government wants to increase the strain upon these people by making it harder for them to make ends meet, taking away money that is supposed to help pay for the extra help they need to cope with their illnesses.

Conclusion?

It seems 9,000 deaths in three years means people aren’t dying fast enough.

Four Conservative MPs are to join the SNP to call for a House of Commons debate on postponing cuts to disability benefits.

The government has said it plans to press ahead with cuts to employment and support allowance (ESA) for new disabled claimants of £29 a week, saying the savings would be reinvested in better support.

Those deemed well enough to prepare for returning to work will have their payments cut to £73 a week, bringing them into line with jobseeker’s allowance. Damian Green, the work and pensions secretary, has said these cuts will go ahead but there are no plans for further welfare reductions.

SNP MP Neil Gray will apply for a debate on the cuts at the backbench business committee, backed by Conservative MPs David Burrowes, Heidi Allen, Jeremy Lefroy and Stephen McPartland, who have led calls from the Tory backbenches for a rethink of the plans.

Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs will also back calls for the backbench debate to postpone the cuts.

A spokesman from the Department for Work and Pensions said: “The system was in need of reform as it trapped many disabled people on welfare and failed to provide the right incentives and support to help people into work, with only one in 100 claimants moving out of the work-related activity group and into work each month.”

Source: Tory MPs join call to postpone disability benefit cuts | Politics | The Guardian

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