The Scottish National Party has said the UK government should be “ashamed” after Disability Rights UK raised concerns about three “hidden” social security cuts to disabled people that have not been subject to a specific government announcement, a statement of policy intent, impact assessment or prior consultation before being introduced.
The devastating cut of £30 a week to Employment Support Allowance for claimant’s placed in the work related activity group (ESA WRAG) also includes a 55% cut in the rate of ESA for disabled people under the age of 25.
The lower disabled child addition for universal credit will also remain frozen – at £126.11 – despite the amounts for both the higher disabled child element of universal credit and child tax credit for disabled and severely disabled children all increasing.
And full time students who receive disability living allowance or personal independence payments are now not treated as having limited capability for work so are therefore not entitled to universal credit until they have been assessment so face long delays without support.
Neil Gray MP, the SNP’s Fair Work and Employment spokesperson, who has led parliamentary opposition to the cuts to ESA, said:
“Sneaking out these cuts when disabled people and those on low to middle incomes are already facing a barrage of cuts from the Tories at Westminster is disgraceful.
“In a week when the abhorrent rape clause was introduced, the Tories have now sunk to a new low.
“The UK government is well aware of the staunch opposition to the devastating £30 a week cut to ESA and though they have completely ignored concerns from MPs, Lords and third sector organisations representing disabled people there has at least been the opportunity for debate.
“These cuts fly in the face of the Tory party’s manifesto commitment to help more disabled people into the workplace and creating more barriers to work and study for young people is inexcusable.
“Damian Green must immediately halt these cuts and allow these measures to be fully scrutinised.”