MPs have voted to reinstate a plan to cut Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for no good reason.
The similarities between this plan – the Convalescent Charge – and the Bedroom Tax are shocking.
Like the Bedroom Tax, the Convalescent Charge affects only a certain number of people. In the former case, it’s people in social housing who the Conservative Government says have a ‘spare’ bedroom. In the latter case, it is those claiming ESA in the Work-Related Activity Group. People in the Support Group of ESA will retain the full amount.
Therefore we can say that members of the WRAG are being charged £30 a week because they have been told – by assessors employed by the Conservative Government – that they will get well within a calendar year of their claim becoming active. In any case, they will lose the benefit when that year is over.
These are people who have spent all of their adult lives in work, paying their taxes, until illness struck them down. They had a right to expect the system to support them through their difficulties – not for it to be pulled out from under them.
We are all-too-aware that mistakes are made. Mortality in the Work-Related Activity Group is three times the national average. That’s in a group of people who are not expected to die at all, but are supposed to make a full recovery.
Like the Bedroom Tax, the Convalescent Charge will undoubtedly increase the number of deaths.
MPs have renewed plans to cut Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by £30 a week – ignoring a desperate protest from a Tory backbencher who declared: “This is my warning shot to government”.
Heidi Allen’s speech made an 11th-hour plea for her own party to find “the compassion to look after the little man”.
But her plea fell on deaf ears as a motion to challenge the House of Lords, which struck down the cuts last month, was passed by 306 votes to 279.
MPs also voted 310-277 against a Lords decision to reverse the scrapping of child poverty targets – which are being replaced by “shameful” measures that don’t count parents’ income.
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