Government pushes ahead with plans to cut ESA as MPs reject Lords amendment

MPs have voted by 309 to 274 to reject a Lords amendment to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on reducing Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This would have seen the Government required to carry out an impact assessment before the cut was implemented.
 
The amendment MPs voted against this evening would have assessed the effect of reducing ESA on disabled people’s health, financial wellbeing and ability to return to work.

Elliot Dunster, Group Head of Policy, Research and Public Affairs at disability charity Scope, says: 
 
“MPs have again failed to recognise the harmful impact that reducing Employment and Support Allowance will have on disabled people.
 
We’re deeply disappointed that the Government is pushing ahead with its plans despite widespread opposition and the Lords twice raising concerns by voting to amend this flawed measure.

Half a million disabled people will be affected by this proposal – 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 (WRAG) 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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