Scope responds to MPs vote to reinstate cut to ESA

MPs have voted to reinstate the cut to Employment and Support Allowance to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. The Government overturned the Lords amendment by 306 votes to 279. 

Elliot Dunster, group head of policy, research and public affairs at disability charity Scope, says: 
 
“We’re disappointed that MPs have failed to recognise the harmful impact that reducing Employment and Support Allowance will have on disabled people. 

“Half a million disabled people will be affected by this measure – losing around £30 a week at a time when they are already struggling to make ends meet. 

“Reducing disabled people’s incomes won’t incentivise them to find a job. It will just make life harder.

“The Government has committed to halving the disability employment gap, but cutting financial support is not the answer. 

“To achieve its ambitious target, the Government must invest in expert, tailored support and encourage employers to create flexible, modern workplaces.

“The upcoming White Paper on disability, health and employment is an important opportunity to reform the system and make it work for disabled people.”

Notes to editors 

If the proposed changes are introduced, from April 2017, new ESA claimants who are placed in the Work Related Activity Group will receive the same rate as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – a reduction in financial support from £101 to £73. The changes will affect around 500,000 disabled people in the WRAG. 

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