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Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News

UK GOVERNMENT CUTS COULD HIT 43% OF DISABLED PEOPLE

08/09/2015  

DISABLED IN MORAY COULD BE HIT HARD BY TORY WELFARE CUTS

Moray MP Angus Robertson has hit out at UK Government plans, which aim to cut the number of people receiving Employment and Support Allowance by 1 million.

In order to achieve such a cut this could reduce the number of people receiving ESA by 43% and could require cuts to support for the most severely disabled.

As of February 2015, 2,322,980 people were claiming ESA in Great Britain. UK Ministers have said this week that they believe up to 1 million people on ESA could be moved into work, and Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has said that there will be a focus on people with mental health conditions.

However, less than quarter of a million people with mental and behavioural disorders are deemed by the DWP as ready for work – 10.5% of all claimants. The majority of claimants with mental and behavioural disorders (54%) are deemed by the DWP to be the most severely disabled and unable to undertake work-related activity.

Angus Robertson MP commented:

“The idea that you can pluck figures from the air of how many people could be removed from ESA entitlement with absolutely no account taken of their ability to work is just ludicrous.

“The DWP’s own figures show that to reduce the number of ESA claims by 1 million then people who are severely disabled and already classed as unable to work would have to be included.

“I regularly deal with constituent’s who are disabled and who are clearly not able to work but are being forced to seek work to the detriment of their health and wellbeing and great concern for their family and friends. This is not a fair or acceptable way for people to be treated.

“As an example, only 10 percent of claimants with mental health problems are considered fit to work and if the UK Government starts forcing people to work who are simply not able it is much more likely to make their health problems worse, put unnecessary strain on our National Health Service and charitable organisations and, most importantly, it is simply not right.

“I believe that most reasonable people recognise that their are difficult circumstances where people need welfare support and cannot work. To take away that support is inhumane and totally unacceptable in a caring society.

“The DWP should scrap these plans immediately, and institute a fairer system that supports people into employment rather than penalising them.”

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