Let’s make no bones about it: Sir Alan Haselhurst is quite clearly a bloody fool.
He supported the cut in ESA for claimants in the Work-Related Activity Group on the basis that it would get people – who are capable of it – off benefit and back into work. That’s ridiculous.
People on ESA are, by definition, not capable of work.
They aren’t on the benefit because their illness or disability is making it hard for them to find a job; they’re on it because they are too unwell to work.
The rules are perfectly clear. Being in the WRAG means the claimant is expected to be well enough to work within a year of their claim starting – but it doesn’t mean they can work now.
If that was possible, they would be on Jobseeker’s Allowance, not ESA.
Haselhurst has based his vote on a false premise.
In such circumstances, it is unsurprising that people have responded with anger. He should be apologising for making such a huge – and, frankly, unforgivable – blunder.
Conservative MP Sir Alan Haselhurst has called in police over the internet backlash which followed his vote for cuts to disability benefits.
The Saffron Walden Tory said pictures shared online known as memes, which highlighted his troubles in the MPs’ expenses scandal alongside his decision, were “vicious”.
Twitter and Facebook fury came after … true blue MPs … voted in favour of cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for people having difficulty finding a job because of a long-term illness or a disability.
Cuts to ESA will see new claimants from April next year losing £30 a week – from £103 to £73 – if they are judged to be disabled but fit enough to be classed in the “work-related activity group” (WRAG).
The change was forced through the House of Lords after the Government invoked “financial privilege” because of its “cost implications”.
This was despite opposition from the Disability Benefits Consortium, a group representing 60 charities.
Sir Alan said: “It’s motivated by the desire to get more people back into work who are capable of doing some form of work. We should be making a more active effort to make sure that there’s something they are able to do.
“The money is being spent in ways to get people back into work.”
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