Time to listen

Time for Prime Minister, Liz Truss to listen to those who want her to reverse her plans to change the way disability benefits are calculated, says Bath MP Wera Hobhouse.

She’s urging a change of heart after research revealed by the Liberal Democrats, provided by the House of Commons Library, shows that there are over 3,000 people in Bath on disability benefits. They will be left nearly £400 a year worse off if the Government decides to go ahead with only raising benefits in line with earnings and not inflation.

The Personal Independence Payment is the extra money you receive to help with everyday life if you are disabled. This includes preparing food, washing, getting dressed or communicating with other people. The payments are a lifeline to the most vulnerable and poorest in our society. Without it many people would be left cut off from the outside world and living in dire circumstances. 

Since the mini-budget, which in the Chancellor’s words caused ‘a little turbulence’, the Government has asked departments to make ‘efficiency savings’ in order to cover the cost of the fiscal events tax cuts for the most well-off in society. As part of these cuts to public services and expenditure, the Conservatives have not ruled out only raising benefits in line with earnings and not inflation as previously promised. 

To do so would see a person on the highest rate of the Personal Independence Payments lose £367.12 a year. Other people in very difficult circumstances, such as the parents of a disabled child, are set to take an even bigger hit. A family with both parents claiming Universal Credit and caring for their disabled child could lose around £800 a year. 

Bath MP Wera Hobhouse commented:

“The coming months were already shaping up to be some of the most difficult we have experienced for a long time. People are already struggling. Over 2 million are using food banks, and now the Government is considering putting the most vulnerable under even more acute pressure. 

“Deciding to take nearly £400 a year out of the pockets of the poorest and then hand it directly to the richest through tax cuts can only be described as callous and immoral. Some in the cabinet have rightly tried to put a stop to this madness and urged the Prime Minister to reverse course. I can only hope she listens. 

“The Prime Minister and Chancellor’s active choice to neglect the most vulnerable in our society is something that we cannot forgive. If they go ahead with these plans it will put some already on the breadline in unsustainable financial difficulty. Government is meant to protect and care for its citizens, the Conservatives will have failed in that most basic duty if they allow this to go ahead.”

The data from the House of Commons Library can be found here