Benefits and welfare
We want to thank all of our supporters who supported us as we campaigned alongside other charities to stop the cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill. With support from all of you we managed to get the House of Lords to remove the cuts from the Bill. However, MPs in the House of Commons overturned the House of Lord’s decision and the cuts are now going ahead from early 2017. These cuts will only be applied to new claimants placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA from April 2017.
We are extremely disappointed that the Government did not understood how damaging these cuts will be and have based their decision on very little evidence and a poor equality impact assessment.
This is likely to be a great concern to people who are not well enough to work but we are going to continue to campaign to ensure people get the support they need. The Government are making these cuts alongside offering other support to help people back into employment. We know many people affected by mental illness want to work, so we want to make sure that the support offered is tailored and appropriate for everyone affected by mental illness. It also must recognise that at times people may not be able to work and pushing them back into the job market too early could have devastating affects on their mental health.
Thank you for speaking up.
Also, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on how great the support from all of our supporters has been in lobbying and campaigning around the benefit cuts. Nearly 5000 of you spoke up against benefit cuts and thousands more across the country. We had one of the best lobbies in parliament back in January with over 100 people with various disabilities and illnesses talking to their MPs. This has resulted in many MPs speaking out against the benefit cuts, including Heidi Allen MP. We gained the support of the House of Lords who conducted research and used all the Parliamentary tools at their disposal to try to stop the cuts to benefits. We know this isn’t the news any of us wanted to hear, but it does show how well we can campaign together.
This isn’t the end.
The Government have committed to making the benefits system more supportive for those with disabilities and illness and we will campaign to make sure they do. You are likely to see a lot about benefits over the next year or so and we hope you will be able to campaign alongside us when you do. You can sign up to be a campaigner and be the first to hear about our campaigns.