Edinburgh East MP and Work and Pensions Select Committee member Sheila Gilmore today slammed the Government’s cruel plans to slash benefits for sick and disabled people.
Employment and Support Allowance is paid at one of two rates – £101.15 a week for those placed in the Work-related Activity Group, and £108.15 a week for those in the Support Group. The BBC are reporting that Ministers are considering cutting payments to those in the Work-Related Activity Group to £72.90 – 50p above the weekly payment to Jobseekers Allowance claimants.
Sheila Gilmore said:
When Labour created the Work-related Activity Group in 2008, the rationale was to ensure that sick and disabled people who couldn’t work in the short term but might be able to in the future weren’t simply written off. Those in this group would receive support from Jobcentres and be encouraged to do appropriate training.
However we were clear that up until their next reassessment – which would occur at least every two years – these people were still unable to work.
This is something Tory Ministers now seem keen to ignore. By cutting payments to those in the Work-related Activity Group by nearly £30 per week, Ian Duncan Smith is effectively saying that these people are only a hop, skip and a jump away from being a fully fit, able-bodied Jobseekers Allowance claimant.
This just isn’t the case in reality, as has many people who are placed in this group have serious mental health issues or are recovering from serious accidents.
Cutting the benefits of sick and disabled people who are unable to work through no fault of their own is cruel – Ian Duncan Smith and his Tory Ministers should be ashamed.
Notes to Editors:
- The BBC News story is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29821696
- Sheila Gilmore’s work on ESA is set out on her website: http://www.sheilagilmore.co.uk/my-work-on-esa/
- Sheila Gilmore is a member of the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee. You can view the committee’s website here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-archive/work-and-pensions-committee/
For more information please contact Matt Brennan, Parliamentary Assistant to Sheila Gilmore MP, on 020 7219 7062, 07742 986 513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.