MPs have voted unanimously to postpone a planned £30-a-week cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) following a debate in Parliament.
This vote – which was 127-0 – follows more than a year of warnings from the disability community and MPs alike and an open letter from some 70 disability charities voicing concern at the devastating effects that the £30 weekly cut to ESA and UC would have to people with a disability.
The Government had suggested that sick and disabled people who get ESA are not being incentivised to find work because of the £30-a-week more they get compared to those on Jobseeker’s Allowance. It decided earlier in the year to implement a cut of £30-a-week from April 2017 for new claimants.
Learning disability charity Mencap have now called for the cut to be reversed in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement on November 23.
Rob Holland, Mencap’s parliamentary manager said: “We are delighted to see that MPs from across all political parties have listened to concerns from disabled people and voted to postpone the £30 weekly cuts to ESA and Universal Credit and look again at their impact, with 127 votes to 0. The call for this cut to be reversed in the Autumn Statement is growing stronger and stronger.
“For over a year the disability community together with MPs from across all parties have been warning of the disastrous affect that a cut to ESA would have on the lives of disabled peoples and their families; over a quarter of whom already struggle to afford food on the amount they currently receive.
“Disabled people have seen their support reduced from all angles with cuts to their benefits and a collapsing social care sector. Today’s vote while not binding is hugely encouraging, and we hope that the government takes on board the strength of feeling from people with a learning disability.
“We now urge the government to use this second chance to focus on ensuring that people with a learning disability get the personalised support they need so they have the same opportunities as everyone else to get onto Apprenticeships and into work where appropriate.”