Tonight (27th January) Peers voted against the Government’s proposed cut to Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for new claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) during debate on the Welfare and Work Bill.
The Government was defeated by 283 votes to 198, a majority of 85. This is welcome news for the Disability Benefits Consortium who have been lobbying against the cut.
Rob Holland, Parliamentary Manager at Royal Mencap Society and co-chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium said:
“Disabled people will be hugely encouraged that Peers have listened to their concerns and voted against the proposed cut in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The Government wants to get more disabled people into work, but as a sector we have warned that cutting ESA WRAG, and its equivalent payment in Universal Credit, will directly undermine that commitment whilst pushing disabled people further from work and closer to or into poverty.
“This proposed cut together with the crisis in social care funding means disabled people are facing losses to critical support they need to make ends meet and to be included in society. The Government can no longer ignore the widespread opposition to this, which now also faces huge public opposition with just 6% of the people thinking welfare cuts will make the UK a better place for disabled people to live.
“This vote by the Lords should add further evidence of the deep unease amongst disabled people and the wider public around cutting ESA WRAG and the equivalent in Universal Credit . We now urge the Government to take note of this, and halt this cut.”