Extract from Learning Disability Today, 8 December 2015
The government’s proposed cut of £30 per week to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will have a detrimental impact on people with mental ill health, learning disabilities or autism and directly contradict the government’s aim of getting more disabled people into work, a Parliamentary Review has found.
The review, which includes evidence from charities and disabled people, led by independent crossbench peers Lord Low, Baroness Meacher and Baroness Grey-Thompson, found that the cut will hinder not help the government’s aim to get more disabled people into work.
The review contains evidence from a range of sources highlighting the danger of this cut to ESA for future claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG). Currently there are close to half a million people with disabilities in this group, 241,000 of which have mental health problems, a learning disability or autism. All have been found currently unfit for work.
The Review found that the government has offered no credible evidence to support their view that cutting this benefit will ‘incentivise’ disabled people to get into work. In fact, disabled people responding the review overwhelming said that such a cut would lead to a worsening of health conditions, particularly mental health as they are pushed further into poverty and as such are less likely to be able to take steps toward work.
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