I am skeptical of this information from the DWP as statistics and information can be used to prove anything.
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?
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.
The real life stories of disabled people’s experiences of the UK welfare system are being brought to life in a play. But far from being a fringe performance, the cast is taking it to the heart of political decision making – parliament.
Ignite Me Workshop Theatre was formed in August 2017. And now, it’s bringing its latest work, a play called Lives Like These to parliament on 1 May. The Canary caught up with the group’s artistic director, Bryony Jayne Meteyard, to discuss igniting parliament with some hard-hitting theatre.
The group came about, Meteyard said, because she saw the need for a “people’s theatre” in south west London. The aim of Ignite Me is, in her words, to “hold up a mirror to society and show the truth”. Disabled people in the UK are often portrayed in the press as ‘benefit scroungers’, or ‘living off people’s taxes’, so a theatre company dedicated to busting these myths is refreshing. Meteyard told The Canary:
Disabled people and full-time carers need to have a voice in the current political climate. Austerity is having a major detrimental effect on their lives and bullying, discrimination and marginalisation are still massive issues. Theatre is one way to make an impact.
Damning figures. Damning criticism.
Meteyard is correct when she says that disabled people’s lives have been detrimentally affected in recent years. They have been subjected to seven years of what TV show The Last Leg described as a “genocide” by the Conservative Party. Because since 2010, the Tories have cut:
- The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which previously supported people with care packages. Since the government cut it, in some areas 88% of people have seen their care packages reduced by up to 50%.
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
The High Court has granted an urgent challenge to the reduced benefit cap and the hearing will go ahead in May. The specific test cases all concern lone parents with children under the age of two, …
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”,
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
The government has abandoned plans to tighten eligibility for its new disability benefit, but has refused to reconsider cuts to out-of-work disability benefits that were approved by parliament earlier this month. The announcement that the government was withdrawing plans to cut spending on personal independence payment (PIP) – which would have affected 370,000 disabled people by 2020-21 – was made by the new work and pensions secretary, Stephen Crabb, following the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith. The announcement of the U-turn was greeted with relief by disabled people and disability organisations, alongside widespread anger at Duncan Smith and his attempt to paint himself as a defender of disabled people’s rights in his resignation letter and a subsequent interview with the BBC. He claimed in the letter to the prime minister that cuts to PIP – which he had earlier defended in parliament – were “a compromise too far” and “not defensible in the way they were placed within a Budget that