13 March 2016
Conservative MPs, including Kingston and Surbiton MP James Berry, have voted to reduce Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) payments to sick and disabled people, by £30 a week.
At a time when the most vulnerable in our society are already struggling to make ends meet, with 28% of current ESA claimants already unable to afford to eat according to research by the Disability Benefits Consortium, inflicting further cruel cuts on sick and disabled individuals shows the true nature of the Conservative party.
Unfathomably, Conservative MPs have also rejected plans put forward by the House of Lords to conduct a full impact assessment into the effect the cuts would have on claimants – despite numerous charities and professional bodies expressing concern at the government plans and their probable ramifications.
The impact of these cuts is already clear however; they will cause unnecessary stress, anxiety and suffering to the sick and disabled and they will also result in loss of independence, reduced social inclusion and create even larger barriers to employment for many.
This latest assault comes at a time when the government is preparing to cut £1.2billion from the welfare budget by making it harder for disabled people to score “points” when applying for Personal Independence Payments (PIP), should they have access to specially-adapted equipment such as lightweight crockery, wet rooms, adapted cutlery or handrails. This specialised equipment is what allows many people to live comfortably at home, leave the house safely or even get dressed and eat meals, yet to suggest that the ongoing needs of these individuals stops once such equipment is used, demonstrates an extraordinary lack of understanding of the lived experiences of disabled people. This targeting of vulnerable people tells us exactly what James Berry and the Conservative party stand for.
Conservative policies towards disabled people have already proven to be deadly, with numbers from the Department of Work and Pensions showing that 2,380 people died between December 2011 and February 2014, after having their benefits stopped as a result of being found “fit to work” under ESA rules.
With plans to give tax cuts to top earners at the next budget, whilst simultaneously escalating and continuing these disgusting attacks on the disabled, James Berry and the Conservatives are showing that they are not only a party of the few, but also a party of contempt for the most disadvantaged.
Cover Picture Source The Independent
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