Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:03 pm on 17th November 2016.

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Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Labour, Stretford and Urmston 1:03 pm, 17th November 2016

I do not know whether the EHRC offered to do the assessment at no cost, but it certainly set out a substantial and detailed methodology by which the assessment could be carried out. Further, when the Government produced their own rather thin analysis, the EHRC was very clear that it was unsupported by evidence and that it was insufficient.

We now have the Green Paper, which has some welcome proposals and a welcome ambition to halve the disability employment gap, although as my right hon. Friend Stephen Timms pointed out, we do not know when that goal is to be reached. I hope that the Minister will consider the suggestion, which I think the hon. Member for North Swindon supports, that we should consider more than one measure of success in assessing disability employment.

I must tell the Minister that, for all the good in the Green Paper, her proposals will be seriously undermined if she proceeds with the current cut before the proposals have had a chance to take effect. There is no justification for making sick and disabled people poorer. It will not help them to recover, and it will not help them to find work. Disability charities, Opposition MPs and, indeed, MPs from the Minister’s own party have all expressed their deep disquiet about the proposals. It is not too late to think again, to call a pause on this cut and to ensure that disabled people receive the financial support to enable them both to maintain a decent standard and quality of living and, where they can, to have the wherewithal to look for work, prepare for work and take the steps on the journey back to work that so many of them are desperate to make.