Labour has called on the Tory Government to reverse cuts to a sickness and disability benefit that provides vital financial protection to thousands of vulnerable people across the UK.
The call comes as new analysis shows that nearly 50,000 people have been hit by cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the last year alone.
ESA provides financial support in the form of social security payments for people who are too sick or disabled to work. Eligible claimants are separated into two groups depending on the severity of their medical issues and how these impact on work capability.
The Work Related Activity Group, or WRAG for short, is for people who are currently unable to work, but whom may be able to move into employment in the future. And the Support Group is for those who may never be able to work or face very severe barriers to employment.
Labour analysis of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data found that there are 46,000 sick and disabled people in the ESA WRAG whose claim is under a year old.
Each of these claimants will have had their benefits cut as a result of government cuts of £30 per week first introduced in April 2017 for new claimants.
The analysis also shows that 29,000 of those affected – around two thirds – are suffering from mental and behavioural disorders.
In total, around half a million sick and disabled people will be affected when the cut fully takes effect.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Marsha de Cordova MP, is calling on the Government to reverse the cut.
“The Tories’ relentless attacks on disabled people are appalling”, she said.
“This cruel cut is yet another example of the hostile environment the Government has created for disabled people.”
Commenting yesterday, she added: “On the UN International Day of Disabled People, the Tories should do the right thing and reverse this pernicious cut.”