Over the last 20 years, spending on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments (PIP) has almost quadrupled in real terms. As a result, it has become an obstacle to George Osborne meeting his self-imposed, nominal welfare cap.
On the chancellor’s terms, that means it needs to be cut. And the cut has been savage — the IFS projects that 370,000 people with disabilities will lose an average of £3,500 a year.
The problem is: we don’t know why spending has increased so significantly, and neither does the Government.
And, despite a string of embarrassingly large upward revisions to spending forecasts, the Government has never been bothered to find out.
In other words, this was a blind cut, made without evidence of the causes of the spending increase, or potential impacts of the reduction.
The unholy alliance of the Department for Work and Pensions and the Treasury simply didn’t like how high PIP spending was and, instead of undertaking a holistic investigation of what social shifts were driving the change, decided to slash it.
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