The Government has responded to the petition – “Reverse the ESA disability benefit cut”.
We are committed to providing the right support to those with health conditions and disabilities. This change only affects new claims from April 2017 and no current claimants will be cash losers.
In the Summer Budget 2015, we announced that, from April 2017, new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claimants who are placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) will receive the same rate of benefit as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
This change only affects new claims made after that date and there will be no cash losers among those who are already in receipt of ESA. This reform affects those with limited capability for work. Those with the most severe work-limiting health conditions and disabilities, who are placed in the Support Group, will be completely unaffected by these changes.
The reason for implementing this reform is clear. The current system fails to provide the right support to help those with health conditions and disabilities towards and into work, and acts to trap people on welfare. We are committed to ensuring that people have the best support possible, and that is what these changes are about.
The recent record employment levels have benefitted many but have yet to reach those on ESA. It is important to remember that whilst 1 in 5 JSA claimants move off benefit every month, only 1 in 100 of ESA WRAG claimants does so. Those with health conditions and disabilities deserve better than this.
In addition to providing financial security for individuals, work often has a profound effect on people’s life chances and it is right that this Government does everything it can to provide better support to get people into work. More than three-fifths (61 per cent) of those in the ESA WRAG say they want to work – and there is a large body of evidence showing that work is generally good for physical and mental wellbeing.
This change enables us to recycle money into providing practical support that will make a significant difference to the life chances of those in the WRAG. This new funding will be worth £60 million in 2017/18 rising to £100 million in 2020/21 and will support those with limited capability for work to move towards and into suitable employment.
As set out in the Budget 2016, the nature of this support is being influenced by a Taskforce of disability charities, employers, think tanks, provider representatives and local authorities. Furthermore, we are providing a further £15 million for the Jobcentre Plus Flexible Support Fund in 2017-18 to help claimants who have limited capability for work with the extra costs that can be involved in moving closer to the labour market and into work.
These changes are part of a wider reform to help support more disabled people and those with health conditions work and to remain in work. Over the coming year we will build the progress we have made in partnership with disabled people, their representatives, and healthcare professionals, using their insights to understand how the welfare system can work better with the health and social care systems.
Our reforms are aimed at improving the quality of life of those in greatest need. Again, it is worth noting that we spend around £50 billion every year on benefits to support people with disabilities or health conditions, which represents over 6 per cent of all Government spending. We are proud of that commitment and we are determined to ensure that those most in need continue to receive the support they require.
Department of Work and Pensions
Click this link to view the response online:
This petition has over 100,000 signatures. The Petitions Committee will consider it for a debate. They can also gather further evidence and press the government for action.
The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament
Hours later the following was received via email indicating they never had any intention of debating the petition:
The Petitions Committee decided not to debate the petition you signed – “Reverse the ESA disability benefit cut”
The House of Commons Petitions Committee has decided not to schedule a debate on this petition, because this subject has already been discussed and voted on in the House of Commons.
The changes to ESA were proposed in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which has been debated in both Houses of Parliament. In particular, on 2 March MPs debated and voted on House of Lords amendments to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. This included an amendment on Employment Support Allowance, which was rejected. On 7 March the bill cleared its final parliamentary stage and it is now waiting to be signed into law.
You can read the debates at every stage of the Bill here:
You can read the debate on 2 March here:
David Cameron's response to Mr Duncan Smith's resignation
Thank you for your letter this evening.
We are all very proud of the welfare reforms which this Government has delivered over the last six years, and in which you have played an important part.
As a Government, we have done a huge amount to get people into work, reduce unemployment and promote social justice. There are now more people in work than ever before in our country’s history, with 2.4 million more jobs created since 2010.
I regret that you have chosen to step down from the Government at this moment. Together we designed the Personal Independence Payment to support the most vulnerable and to give disabled people more independence.
We all agreed that the increased resources being spent on disabled people should be properly managed and focused on those who need it most.
That is why we collectively agreed – you, No 10 and the Treasury – proposals which you and your Department then announced a week ago. Today we agreed not to proceed with the policies in their current form and instead to work together to get these policies right over the coming months.
In the light of this, I am puzzled and disappointed that you have chosen to resign.
You leave the Government with my thanks and best wishes.
While we are on different sides in the vital debate about the future of Britain’s relations with Europe, the Government will, of course, continue with its policy of welfare reform, matched by our commitment to social justice, to improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged people in our country, and to ensuring that those who most need help and protection continue to receive it.
Debbie Sayers and I are fully aware of the length of time Duncan Smith also known as IDS has been getting away with lies and exaggerations, and as regular readers know, we have been running our 'Truth Campaign' for over two years.
From our open letter to Esther McVey (remember her), to our petition to the Work & Pensions Committee which went to Parliament, we are still going on, with our current petition IDS – TIME TO STOP THE LIES.
It is the breadth of lies issued by each of the various Ministers under IDS along with his own, and if you’re feeling masochistic and want to read more, search lies on Jayne Linney's blog alone, that makes me ask the question I began with – what the Fuck has IDS over the Tories?
I fail to understand why, they tolerate someone who alone, demonstrates every reason why this Government cannot be trusted; further I cannot comprehend why the public are not screaming about it either?
I am fully aware of how difficult it is to keep on fighting when you are suffering.
I have not written, or done anything other than the bare minimum, for almost 2 months, due to very poor physical health and an exceptionally dangerously dark state of mind!
BUT, I cannot and will not stop, pushing to have the Lies of all Ministers of the DWP Exposed – it is these Lies and Spin that drive the policies which, according to coroner Mary Hassell, Triggered the suicide of Michael O’Sullivan, and most likely many many more.
If this bothers you as much as it does me, please let’s have a HUGE push to have #IDS Indicted.
No matter how futile it would be to ask Kathryn Hudson the Commissioner for Standards to investigate IDS, gaining a large number of signatures should afford us with enough media coverage to help actually get rid of IDS from the DWP; and that would make me feel better, how about you?
SIGN IDS – TIME TO STOP THE LIES, Share it and keep on sharing until the mainstream media can ignore it no longer.
By Jayne Linney, Leicester
It is no coincidence I use this example with IDS being the perpetrator, as it is again his department, the DWP, I am discussing today.
In November last year I introduced you to Burt, who with our support at DEAEP was transferred from WRAG, Work Related Activity Group, to the support group last December; since then Burt has received up to three letters a month plus texts reminding him of his “Back to Work” appointments!
Each month Burt has responded to each letter with a phone call saying “but I’m in the Support Group”, he has received an apology and a promise to rectify this from each call; yet it has continued.
Burt is a former career soldier who fought in wars all over the world, until being retired out with a crushed spine and severe PTSD, amongst other conditions; all contracted during his service. He isn’t a naturally timid man, he loved his Army life and willingly gave everything to “Queen & Country”, as his service record and the plethora of photographs and awards proudly displayed in his lounge demonstrate; and yet the persistent harassment he has experienced from the DWP in the past 2 years has left him joyless, feeling without purpose and literally unable to complain.
As Dame Anne alluded to regarding IDS, his actions which amount to bullying in my opinion, makes it difficult if not impossible to positively challenge the perpetrator(s); and this is the situation Burt is in.
Personally I can totally relate to this, and would suggest many readers and other claimants can also.
It is these dismissive attitudes and continuous intimidation by the DWP that creates the ‘Brown envelope Syndrome’, so well recognised by those of us unfortunate enough to claim benefits; it is also this oppression, and misuse of positions of power, that has contributed to the deaths of many us.
How much worse this is going to get following the closure of ILF and a budget which I believe initiates the removal of WRAG?
Being forced to deal with increasing poverty is physically and psychologically damaging enough without having to deal with this prejudice and discrimination from the DWP.
I find this particularly ironic that jobseekers (presumably including those who would have been placed in WRAG) are being mandated to participate in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which claims to Stop negative thought cycles; I can’t help but think IDS, his ministers and the staff at DWP would benefit far more from CBT than claimants?
Disability Discrimination Citizen's Advice
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