Does the U-turn on PIP make this a fair budget for disabled people?

The answer, according to Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people – and friend of Vox Political – Debbie Abrahams, is a resounding “NO”.

She has written about it on her website. I’ve picked out just a few headline items – note that this is one MP who understands that the cut affecting ESA claimants in the Work-Related Activity Group harms people who cannot work.

But then, Debbie is a Labour MP, not a Tory.

On social security, by 2020 Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and other income-related support, will have been cut by nearly £1.4bn (9%) affecting nearly half a million people [1] in the ESA work-related activity group (WRAG); in spite of being found NOT fit for work, they will see their annual income fall by £1500 a year. As another constituent, Patricia who is registered disabled explains, a £30 a week cut would mean she wouldn’t be able to pay her household bills and food. She told me “it is a lot of money to be taken away from us and it is so wrong… I can assure you I cannot work and never will be able to so what am I going to end up doing when I can’t pay my bills. Am I meant to end up going out on the streets and beg so I can get by?”

Cuts to Local Housing Allowance which affect disabled people in supported accommodation remain in place with nearly £1bn (5%) to be lost by 2020.  Despite deferring this cut for a year, the effects of these changes, as many disability charities and their housing providers have said, is that not only will this mean supported accommodation programmes become unviable leaving disabled and older people potentially homeless, but that in spite of a growing demand, the supply of this specialised accommodation will shrink as it becomes unviable for developers and housing associations to build more of these homes.

People who become ill or disabled as a result of an accident or disease caused by work will see a drop of £100m (12%) in their industrial injuries support. While it is absolutely right and proper that employers take responsibility for any harm caused to their employees, the experience of mesothelioma sufferers trying to get former employers to recognise their complicity in exposing employees to hazardous asbestos and compensate them appropriately, does not bode well.

But looking more widely at the Budget as a whole, and the UK’s obligations as signatories of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), it is clear that disabled people are just an afterthought for this Government.

Read more: Does the U-turn on PIP make this a fair budget for disabled people?

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3 thoughts on “Does the U-turn on PIP make this a fair budget for disabled people?

  1. mrmarcpc

    Let us all just wait and see, personally I don’t think it is, they will think of another way to screw the disabled and sick of our nation!

  2. wildswimmerpete

    “in spite of being found NOT fit for work,”……………there is the provision for “permitted work” for those who wish to try some work while still signed-off. However permitted earnings are on top of the full benefit, not instead of. Permitted work needs the backing of the patient’s GP or consultant and the type of work is restricted. I was on the old “Permitted work” scheme while on Incapacity Benefit.

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