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Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Part of Department of Health — End of Life Care – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 2nd March 2016.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland 6:45 pm, 2nd March 2016

The proposal to cut the incomes of people on ESA WRAG by £1,500 is one of the most mean-spirited yet from this Government. The fact that the cut applies only to new claimants, in a little over a year’s time, demonstrates the unease Ministers have about it and their hope—a vain one—that because it applies only to new claimants, somehow people will not notice. The fact is that Ministers are looking for large savings at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable. That was not made clear in the general election campaign; then, the Prime Minister said that disabled people would be protected.

The Minister said that she was going to spend another £100 million on supporting these people. If her scheme was going to work, she would not need to cut this £30 from such people’s weekly income, because she would get the savings as they all moved into work. This is doomed to fail and the Minister knows it. If she was convinced that it was going to work, she would do the impact assessment, because she would be confident of the upshot. She is not doing so, and she is ignoring the very real impact that this will have on the health of the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens.