Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:23 pm on 17th November 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of George Kerevan George Kerevan Scottish National Party, East Lothian 2:23 pm, 17th November 2016

I join other hon. Members in commending my hon. Friend Neil Gray not only for securing the debate but for mobilising such a cross-party coalition. I must also commend the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt, for making notes and being attentive during the debate. There are many Ministers that we could all name who do not do that. I know that she will not give much ground at the end of today’s debate, but I hope that she will take away the feeling of the House on this matter and acknowledge the cross-party view that we should delay the implementation of the cuts to the work-related activity component of the employment and support allowance, at least until we have seen the outcome of the Green Paper.

Interestingly, the underlying reason for a delay has been given to us by the Government themselves. They have implicitly admitted that there is something wrong with the disability payments system for those seeking to get into work. They are looking at the matter again, and we know that the Green Paper consultation period will finish in February. There will then be discussions, and the Government will come back with something after that. All this could take a year or perhaps slightly longer, and we might not see any resolution before the autumn statement of 2017 or possibly in the Budget of 2018. So why change the system now? Why give the civil service more difficulties by changing it now and having to change it again in a year or 18 months’ time? The Government have given us the rationale for a delay.