Scope disappointed that Government plans to reduce ESA will go ahead

Disability Scope says it is "deeply disappointed" that the Government has decided to push ahead with plans to cut Employment Support Allowance for disabled people by £30 per week. 

The Government was twice defeated in the House of Lords over reducing ESA for people in the work-related activity group (Wrag) by £30 per week. 

But today Lords have backed down in their opposition to the Government’s plan. Independent crossbencher Lord Low of Dalston warned: "This is a black day for disabled people." 

Elliot Dunster, Group Head of Policy, Research and Public Affairs at disability charity Scope, says: 

“Reducing Employment and Support Allowance will have a harmful impact on disabled people. 

We’re deeply disappointed that the Government is pushing ahead with its plans despite opposition from the House of Lords and many MPs. 

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 the editor:

Notes to editors 

Proposed changes will be 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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