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Last week 311 MPs voted to cut ESA for disabled people. From 2017, new ESA claimants in the WRAG (work related activity group) will receive £30 less a week – making it level with the amount those on Job-Seekers Allowance receive. The Government forced through these cuts despite the House of Lords twice rejecting them.
A petition created by Sanial McCormick on the 9th March demanding that the ESA cuts be reversed, states that the cuts will leave ‘many in literal poverty’. Obviously this petition struck a nerve with many people, and received over 10,000 signatures in the first day. Now, the petition is perilously close to the magical 100,000 signature mark where the Government will debate the issue.
What is quite surprising is the sheer hypocrisy of some of these MPs. Many of the Conservative MPs who voted for these cuts are actually Patrons of disability charities. How does that work exactly? How can you be so bald-faced, remaining connected to a charity for people who are going to be negatively affected by a law you yourself helped to pass?
We have already reported that two Tory MPs have been told to resign – Kit Malthouse as Patron as the Andover MS society and James Cleverly for Advocacy For All. Disabled People Against Cuts have also started a campaign to force disability charities to sever ties with any MP who voted for the cuts, and are asking people to contact charities asking them to do so.
The cuts to ESA will affect millions of disabled people – it won’t ‘encourage’ them to go back to work if there are no jobs out there that are suitable, or they aren’t yet well enough to continue working. The sad truth is that many employers will choose an able-bodied applicant over a disabled one if it means less restrictions. Being disabled is hardly a choice so why on Earth would the Government treat it as such?
If you didn’t catch The Last Leg on Channel 4 last week, the disabled comedian Alex Brooker made a brilliant and heart-felt speech to Ian Duncan Smith.