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Changes to Employment Support Allowance

Home / News & Views / Siobhain's views / Changes to Employment Support Allowance

31 December 2015

Many constituents have contacted regarding the impending cuts to Employment Support Allowance. The policy will hit vulnerable people who are ill with serious illnesses through no fault of their own, and often in and out of work intermittently. 

The cut will also create a perverse incentive for people with health problems to be placed in the more expensive Support Group of ESA, which will therefore make it less likely that they will receive the help they truly need in order to return to work. This will also see the social security bill increase, which is contrary to the intentions of welfare cuts. 

A number of disability and campaign groups have expressed serious concerns about this proposal, including Mind who have demonstrated that of the 488,000 people currently in the WRAG, more than half 250,000 have a mental health problem. Parkinson’s UK have also warned that 8,000 people currently in the WRAG have progressive and incurable conditions such as Parkinson’s and MS, and Macmillan have said that thousands of people will see a significant drop in support at some point during their cancer journey.

The government does not understand the reality of these changes, the impact it will have on disabled people or the perverse incentives it will create.

Myself and the Labour party does not support this proposal, and we will continue to press the government and support efforts to remove this proposal from the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.