The DWP either just lied or is clueless about a cut to disability benefits | The Canary


A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) minister appears to have lied about one of the most controversial benefit cuts of recent years. Either that or he’s got his facts completely wrong. Because while he claimed the cut made “no savings”, that’s not what the government said when it rolled it out. And now, following the original publication of this article, the DWP has amended the minister’s comments to say that information about the savings is “not available”.

The DWP: remember this cut?

Source: The DWP either just lied or is clueless about a cut to disability benefits | The Canary

MPs raise concerns with McVey over ‘stress and poverty’ caused by WRAG cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog


Cross-party MPs have raised a series of concerns with work and pensions secretary Esther McVey about the government’s treatment of disabled people on out-of-work benefits.

Members of the Commons work and pensions select committee were questioning McVey more than a year after her government introduced cuts of nearly £30 a week to payments to new claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG).

Ministers were ridiculed when they first announced the cuts and argued they would “incentivise” those in the WRAG to find work.

Claimants placed in the WRAG have all been found able to carry out some work-related activity but have been found not fit for work.

The minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt [now the international development secretary], later promised to find a way to cut the living costs of people in the WRAG and “mitigate the £30”.

But by the time the cuts were introduced, in April 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) appeared to suggest that Mordaunt’s only success on living costs had been to ensure that new WRAG claimants would be told by their jobcentre work coaches how to secure the cheapest BT telephone tariff.

Yesterday (Wednesday), SNP’s Chris Stephens asked McVey what work had been done to look at the additional costs faced by WRAG claimants.

But she did not appear to have an answer and claimed instead that the cuts had been aimed at sick and disabled people who could “definitely do some work” and had allowed her department to invest more funds into supporting them into jobs.

 

Source: MPs raise concerns with McVey over ‘stress and poverty’ caused by WRAG cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog

New Labour shadow reveals PMQs access nightmare… and ‘social model’ ignorance | DisabledGo News and Blog


Labour’s new shadow minister for disabled people has spoken about her new role, and the access problems she faces as a disabled MP during prime minister’s questions. Marie Rimmer, one of parliament’s few disabled MPs, was appointed to the role on 1 February, less than two years after she was elected for the first time as MP for St Helens South and Whiston. Born in St Helens, she is a former trade union shop steward and became a Labour councillor in 1978. She led St Helens Council for a total of nearly 20 years over three spells. She told Disability News Service that she does not under-estimate the importance of her new position as shadow minister, or “the magnitude of the role”. “We have got a government that since 2010 has systematically burdened , taken away from finances, affected their housing, their independence… “They seem to have very little understanding of disabled people, and the fact that they are human beings,” she says. Although she did not speak out frequently in the

Source: New Labour shadow reveals PMQs access nightmare… and ‘social model’ ignorance | DisabledGo News and Blog

Mordaunt ‘working on urgent plans to reduce living costs’ ahead of WRAG cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog


The minister for disabled people is working on urgent plans to cut the living costs faced by disabled people on out-of-work disability benefits, she has told MPs. Penny Mordaunt was responding to warnings of the “human cost” of “bizarre” government plans to cut more than £1 billion from disabled benefit claimants over the four years from 2017-18. From April, the highly-controversial cuts will see a £30-a-week reduction in payments to new claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) who have been placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG). Ministers have tried to justify the cuts by claiming that they will “incentivise” sick and disabled people to find work. But Mordaunt told MPs on the Commons work and pensions committee this week that she was working on a package of measures to “mitigate the £30”, which would be in place “before April”. She provided few details of how she would do that, other than that she was working at “ensuring that someone’s outgoings can be managed”,

Source: Mordaunt ‘working on urgent plans to reduce living costs’ ahead of WRAG cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog

Charity calls for WRAG exemption from benefits cap | DisabledGo News and Blog


A leading user-led charity has called for more disabled people to be exempt from the cap on working-age benefits, after the publication of new government figures. Disability Rights UK (DR UK) spoke out after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published figures showing that more than 3,100 households which included someone claiming employment and support allowance (ESA) were having their benefits capped in May 2016*. Although those in the ESA support group, and claimants of disability living allowance and personal independence payment, are exempt from the cap, those in the ESA work-related activity group (WRAG) are not. The figures show that 15 per cent of the 20,000 households affected by the cap included someone claiming ESA. DR UK called for all ESA claimants, including those in the WRAG, to be exempt from the cap. Liz Sayce, DRUK’s chief executive, said there needed to be more flexibility from employers, personalised support for disabled people, and advice and support for

Source: Charity calls for WRAG exemption from benefits cap | DisabledGo News and Blog

Disability employment gap: Experts demolish government excuses for WRAG cut | DisabledGo News and Blog


A trio of experts have destroyed government claims that cutting out-of-work benefits for disabled people will help them find work. They were giving evidence to the Commons work and pensions select committee, as part of its inquiry into the government’s pledge to halve the disability employment gap (the difference between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people). Neil Coyle, a Labour MP and a former director of Disability Rights UK, had asked the panel of experts if they agreed with the government that cutting nearly £30-a-week from new claimants placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) of employment and support allowance (ESA) would help cut the employment gap. David Finch, a senior economic analyst with the Resolution Foundation think-tank, who previously spent eight years at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “We don’t think it’s going to make any particular difference to people’s incentive to look for work or not. “In face, we think there’s evidence

Source: Disability employment gap: Experts demolish government excuses for WRAG cut | DisabledGo News and Blog

Government bribed its way to victory on WRAG cut, says disabled peer | DisabledGo News and Blog


A disabled peer has launched a furious attack on MPs, after he was forced to admit defeat in the battle to prevent the government cutting out-of-work disability benefits for tens of thousands of claimants by £1,500 a year. The decision, which will mean a loss of about £30 a week for new employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) from April 2017, has angered disabled peers, disabled activists, and disability organisations. The government measure was described this week by campaigners and peers as “drastic and without justification”, “harsh”, “dreadful”, “punitive” and “counter-productive”. MPs had twice blocked attempts by peers to throw out or delay the cuts, but the Lords finally had to admit defeat this week because parliamentary convention means MPs have the final say on matters that have financial implications for the government. Lord Low, who has led attempts in the Lords to defeat the WRAG measure, said: “The Commons have

Source: Government bribed its way to victory on WRAG cut, says disabled peer | DisabledGo News and Blog