17th November 2016
Ahead of today’s debate in the House of Commons on cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit, over 70 members of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) have signed an open letter (below) to the Government, warning of the devastating effects the cuts would have on people with a disability and urging MPs to take this debate as an opportunity to re-assess the cuts.
“Dear Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,
“With today’s debate MPs have been given a rare second chance to speak out against £30 a week being taken away from sick and disabled people. The £30-a-week cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit has caused deep unease amongst MPs from all parties. We believe this cut will undermine the Government’s welcome commitment to halve the disability employment gap set out in the Green Paper published just last month.
“The Government recently committed to protecting disabled people’s benefits from further cuts, but have decided to continue with this damaging cut to new claimants in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA and within Universal Credit (UC). From April 2017 this cut will affect many people found currently ‘unfit for work’ but will also affect many disabled people in work and on low wages under UC.
“The Government promised further support would be given to disabled people in the WRAG to find work, however the recent Green Paper offers little detail as to where this would come from or how it will mitigate the effects of the cut.
“Almost 70% of sick and disabled people we surveyed say this cut would cause their health to suffer and just under half said they would probably not be able to return to work as quickly. We urge MPs from all parties to act – at a time when 1 in 3 households with a disabled member are living in poverty – and halt this cut immediately.”
- Action for Blind People
- Action Duchenne
- Action for M.E.
- Action on Hearing Loss
- Advice UK
- Age UK
- Ambitious about Autism
- Arthritis Care
- Arthritis Research UK
- British Lung Foundation
- Capability Scotland
- Carers UK
- Child Poverty Action Group
- CLIC Sargent
- Contact a Family
- Council for Disabled Children
- Crohn’s and Colitis UK
- Cystic Fibrosis Trust
- Deafblind UK
- Dimensions UK
- Disability Agenda Scotland
- Disability Rights UK
- Down’s Syndrome Association
- ENABLE Scotland
- Epilepsy Society
- Epilepsy Action
- Equalities National Council
- Guide Dogs
- Haemophilia Society
- Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)
- Inclusion London
- Leonard Cheshire Disability
- Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association
- MS Society
- Muscular Dystrophy UK
- Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) Trust
- Myeloma UK
- National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society
- National AIDS Trust
- National Autistic Society (NAS)
- National Children’s Bureau
- National Deaf Children’s Society
- National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
- Papworth Trust
- Parkinson’s UK
- Rethink Mental Illness
- Royal British Legion
- Royal College of Psychiatrists
- Royal Mencap Society
- Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
- RSI Action
- Scottish Association for Mental Health
- Spina bifida Hydrocephalus Information Networking Equality (SHINE)
- Sense Scotland
- St Joseph’s Hospice
- The Stroke Association
- Sue Ryder
- Terrence Higgins Trust
- Thomas Pocklington Trust
- Together For Short Lives
- Transport for All
- Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
About the letter
The cuts to the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA and the equivalent in Universal Credit will undermine the Government’s commitment to halving the disability employment gap, which was outlined in the recent Green Paper on Work and Health.
The Government has however suggested that people with disabilities and long-term health conditions who get this benefit are not being incentivised to find work because of the £30-a-week more they get compared to those on Job Seeker’s Allowance.
However, the DBC strongly disputes this claim and a survey of over 500 disabled people found this to be completely false:
- Almost 7 in 10 (69%) say cuts to ESA will cause their health to suffer
- More than a quarter (28%) say they sometimes can’t afford to eat on the current amount they receive from ESA
- Almost half (45%) of respondents say that the cut would probably mean they would return to work later
- Just 1% said the cut would motivate them to get a job sooner
Disabled campaigners were in Parliament on yesterday meeting their MPs to raise concerns. Pictures of this can be found on twitter under #esacuts as will commentary on today’s debate.
2 thoughts on “Open letter to Government on second chance to stop ESA cuts”
I have suffered with poor uncontrolled epilepsy most of my life due to fracturing my skull in an accident at 22 months of age.
I am now 49 years old so have tried nearly all the medications on the market but still have uncontrolled epilepsy.
I was recently receiving DLA (my partner works full time & we own our own home).
Two years ago I had a very bad seizure,resulting in me falling downstairs & hitting my head & damaging my ankle.
My ankle was injected with cortisone because the surgeon said due to the amount of anti-epileptic medicine & uncontrolled seizures He would rather not operate.
My head injury firstly diagnosed with concussion but then got told I’d damaged the greater occipital nerve left side.Since December 2015 I’ve had a serious of headache injections to try & cure the pain.At this moment I’m currently having 30 botox injections every 3 months which is an horrendous procedure & although reduced the pain its not a cure.
I was changed to PIP early this year (May),but sent an assessor out to my home 1st in July to see if I was entitled.I had 2 very good letters from my neurologists,GP.I had a support worker with me,my partner & my mum.
The assessor said oh quite a party when 1st entering my home.We explained I can’t go out alone cos I never know when a seizure will occur & I also have a helmet made by orthotics to wear now to protect my head when at home.
I have been told I do not qualify for the care component of PIP & I am able to go out alone /even alone on a bus!!!Also no problem bathing alone!!
I’ve been awarded £22.80 per week to live on which is the mobility component.
My family & partner are having to support me at this time.
We put a reconsideration letter in at the end of August & my neurologist & GP sent further letters.My GP also got me the help of a social worker & yet I still have no answer from the DWP.
A few weeks ago I had another 30 botox injections all across my head,still having regular seizures yet feel like I’m left to rot because there is no chance I can work or live on this amount I’ve been awarded.
What am I meant to do?I was born in this country & generations of my family fought for this country & now disabled I’ll people like myself are being very badly let down.
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