The Scottish National Party has described today’s (April 1st 2017) introduction of a £30 a week cut to Employment Support Allowance as “a dark moment” and has called on the UK ministers to urgently bring forward the promised support package to help disabled people meet the additional costs of disability.
The SNP has been against the £30 cut from the outset – the cut was put forward as part of the Welfare Reform and Work Act which received Royal Assent in March last year despite a wealth of opposition from third sector organisations and the House of Lords.
In November, MPs from nine parties – including Conservative MPs – supported the SNP’s calls for the cut to be postponed until alternative financial support was introduced and despite DWP Ministers promising that a package of additional measures would be introduced, nothing has happened.
Earlier in the week, Neil Gray applied for a standing order 24 emergency debate in the House of Commons but unfortunately this was denied.
Neil Gray MP, the SNP’s Fair Work and Employment spokesperson, said: “This is a particularly dark moment – even for this Tory government and their abysmal record of social security cuts which especially impact some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“This cut will have a devastating impact on the lives of disabled people who – as determined by the DWP – are unable to work through ill-health or disability.”
He added: “Instead of helping people with a disability to live independently, this regressive cut will push people further from work and actually risks putting individuals in real danger of hardship – which is a complete contradiction of the Tory party’s manifesto commitment to halve the disability employment gap.
“As this cut comes into force, neither MPs nor third sector organisations or disabled people themselves have been given the information we were promised about what the Tories are going to do to ensure ESA recipients, new and existing are not financially penalised.
“The UK government must recognise that this no way to treat its citizens and must act urgently to ensure that adequate support is delivered for sick and disabled people when they are unable to work.”