Increasing Number of Disabled People Unable to Live on Benefits

The full scale of government welfare cuts has become apparent, with 28% of people unable to live on their benefits according to a Parliamentary Review on cuts to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA.)

The government had set out an initiative to reduce benefits in order to get more people into work, however the ESA concluded that the measures would be counterproductive.

Over 500 people were surveyed, and it was discovered that 28% were unable to eat properly, whilst 38% were unable to heat their home. Half of those surveyed said they were in a constant battle to remain healthy.

Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap said: "This Parliamentary Review looks at the impact on disabled people of the £30 a week cut to ESA Work Related Activity Group, something the Government has failed to carry out.

"This review shows that the cut would directly hinder the Government's desire to halve the disability employment gap, and instead push disabled people further away from employment, closer to poverty and actively harm people's health.

"Cuts to people's benefits are clearly having a huge impact on the lives of disabled people and with further cuts being planned the impact is only likely to get worse.

"We know from speaking to people with a learning disability and their families that they are very concerned that the cuts to benefits and social care are likely to leave people being left isolated in their own communities."

The Department of Work and Pensions decided that, from April 2017, chronically ill people such as those suffering from cancer or paraplegics should receive £30 less per week, despite the difficulties they already face which has been highlighted by the review.

Critics condemn the policy, saying that far from encouraging those suffering from illnesses into work; it will diminish their ability to function within society on any level, let alone to be productive. The underlying worry is that a paltry short term benefit system will become the only source of income for the neediest within society.

Cutting the benefit will make looking for work more difficult because it will make 500,000 disabled ESA claimants without basic essentials, and will cut funds for suits, internet and bus tickets.

ESA payments worth £102.15 a week will be slashed to £73.10, the same as jobseekers' allowance, from April 2017 for anyone deemed fit for 'work-related activity'.

Written By:

Daniel James


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