Responding to today’s budget, Rob Holland, Parliamentary Lead at Royal Mencap Society and Co-Chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium, said:
“We are deeply concerned at today’s announcement by George Osborne that people who are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of Employment and Support Allowance would see their support cut by more than £30 a week.
The Chancellor announced that people who are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of Employment and Support Allowance would see their support cut by more than £30 a week for new claims.
Cutting this essential payment to the bare minimum will prevent people seeking work effectively and fly in the face of the Government’s aim to halve the disability employment gap.
Many disabled people have been put in this group because they have long term health conditions which prevent them from working for a certain amount of time. Those who are in this group will often only receive it for a limited time only.
Putting pressure on the incomes of disabled people at a time when they need the extra money because they’re too unwell to work can make it less likely they would be fit enough to work in the future.
The cut will hit households with a disabled person hard – a third of whom are living below the poverty line. Furthermore official Government figures show that the number of disabled people living in poverty has increased by 300,000 over the last year.
The cut must also be seen in the context of other cuts and freezes to support for disabled people, their families and carers such as housing benefit, tax credits and social care.
The Government must act to address this and tackle the long term economic disadvantages disabled people face. Support for disabled people, their families and carers must be protected.”