Labour demands answers on £70m “stealth cut” for disabled people hidden in the Budget
On International Day for Disabled People, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, Anneliese Dodds, has called on the Government to “come clean” about its plans to reform disability benefits after the fine print in last month’s Budget revealed plans to cut £70m of planned spending over the course of three years.
The Budget confirmed that the Government will be adopting two proposals consulted on in its Health and Disability Green Paper over the summer: expanding the Special Rules for Terminal Illness and replacing the 18-month minimum award period for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) with “more targeted efforts … to reduce the frequency of assessments”. Government costings show that these changes will cut £70m from disability benefits over the course of three years.
Writing to Chloe Smith, the Minister for Disabled People, Dodds accuses the Government of “going behind the backs of disabled people”, given that consultation on the Green Paper closed just a fortnight before these proposals appeared as fully-costed plans in the Budget on 27 October and despite Government commitments in the Green Paper to “explore”, “test” and “consult” on the new proposals.
In her letter, Dodds demands that the Government publish more detail as to how it has arrived at these figures, and to make clear that these policies are being designed with the best interests of disabled people in mind rather than cost savings for the Exchequer.
Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, said:
“The Government needs to come clean about its plans for a stealth cut to disability benefits buried away in the back of the Budget.
“With a vital consultation on these matters having closed just weeks before the Chancellor delivered his Budget, the Government seems to going behind the backs of disabled people and pushing on with its own preferred plans regardless.
“We need much more detail about these plans. On International Day for Disabled People, the Government should be acting in their best interests – not trying to sneak yet another cut past them.”