The UK Government has announced new plans to tackle the barriers faced by disabled people and those with mental health problems, in a move that has been cautiously welcomed by charities but may be more difficult to sell to those who have been affected by years of cuts.
A potential Green Paper will include plans to consult with disabled people and their organisations on reforming the benefits system, which campaigners say is failing disabled people and those with mental health issues.
The Government will also look at overhauling Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) “so it is better enforced, more flexible to encourage a phased return to work, and covers the lowest paid”.
And a new disability unit could be set up in the Cabinet Office. One of its first tasks will be to work with Government departments to make housing more accessible to disabled people.
Source: Tory pledge to consult disabled people on reforming the benefits system branded an ‘insult’ : Welfare Weekly
Further cuts to disability and sickness benefits are in the pipeline, the Work and Pensions Secretary has signalled. Stephen Crabb said he wanted to go further than the £12 billion welfare cuts set out in the Conservative manifesto and “re-frame discussion” around disability welfare reform. The surprise announcement comes just under two months since Mr Crabb said the Government had “no further plans” for welfare cuts. Mr Crabb, who replaced Iain Duncan Smith in the role in March, said he would set out a green paper on further proposed changes to disability benefits later this year. “The measures that have either already been legislated for or announced get us to the £12 billion ,” he said. “Does that mean welfare reform comes to an end? I would say no. I’ve already pointed to what I see as one of the big challenges of welfare reform – and that’s around work and health.” Mr Crabb told MPs on Work and Pensions Select Committee that he would deploy “smart strategies” for cutting
Source: Further disability benefit cuts on the way, new DWP secretary Stephen Crabb signals | DisabledGo News and Blog
The government has suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Lords over its plans to cut future support for hundreds of thousands of disabled people found “not fit for work”, thanks to an amendment proposed by a disabled peer. Lord Low’s amendment – to remove the proposed cuts from the welfare reform and work bill – was passed by 283 to 198 votes during the bill’s report stage last night (27 January). Although the government is likely to reintroduce the measure when the bill returns to the House of Commons, the vote is likely to be seen as a fresh blow to the credibility of work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith. His proposals would see new claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) who are placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) see their weekly payments drop by nearly £30 a week from April 2017. Another proposal – also thrown out following an amendment moved by Lord Low – would introduce similar cuts for those placed in the equivalent group of the new
Source: Disabled peers inflict heavy defeat as government loses its WRAG cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog
The government’s “bedroom tax” discriminates unlawfully against disabled children, the court of appeal has ruled. The appeal court, which overturned a high court decision, was hearing the case of two disabled grandparents who care for their disabled grandson in an adapted three-bedroom bungalow in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The court also ruled that the bedroom tax – or the spare room subsidy removal (SRSR), as it is called by the government – discriminates against victims of domestic violence, after hearing the case of a woman whose home had been adapted to include a “panic room” to protect her from a violent ex-partner. The appeal court had heard that Paul and Susan Rutherford had been found to be “under-occupying” their home and had their housing benefit cut by 14 per cent, even though their 15-year-old grandson Warren, who lives with them, needs 24-hour care from at least two people at a time. Two paid care workers stay overnight in their bungalow at least twice a week, but the
Source: Bedroom tax discriminates against disabled children, say appeal court judges | DisabledGo News and Blog
Disability groups have written an open letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, urging him to abandon planned cuts to a key benefit. The House of Lords will vote next week on government plans to cut £30 a week from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for some new claimants from 2017. The letter says it will make it harder for disabled people to find work. But the Department for Work and Pensions says the campaigners are “scare-mongering”. ” fails to acknowledge that existing claimants and those with the most severe disabilities will not be affected at all,” a spokesman said. From April 2017, ministers are intending to reduce the amount of money people in one category of ESA receive, taking approximately £30 a week from new claimants who are deemed to be capable of making some effort to find work. The change will bring the benefit rate in line with Jobseeker’s Allowance. ‘Closer to poverty’ More than 30 charities and members of the Disability Benefits Consortium,
Source: Employment and Support Allowance should not be cut – campaigners | DisabledGo News and Blog