What a disappointment that Andrew Bingham has voted to cut support for the vulnerable in our society. When he speaks up so well for the High Peak and small business, can he not understand what is happening to the sick and disabled in our community?
The Welfare Reform and Work bill debated in Parliament last week had an amendment to remove the proposed 30 per cent reduction in the employment support allowance for those who are sick or disabled, but deemed ready to take work- related activity. 30 per cent - that’s a big reduction, taking their allowance down to £72. 40 a week. But Andrew Bingham voted to throw out this amendment.
If you are suffering from depression or have a physical disability, is cutting your allowance really going to make you better able to find a job?
I believe all evidence shows that it is more difficult for disabled people to get and keep jobs in any case.
Why cut their ability to afford their telephone and broadband bills, dress smartly and pay for transport to interviews and the job centre – all of which are necessary to get a job.
More worryingly, the work capability assessment has been found to be very error-prone, with four out of every ten appeals against judgements being upheld.
And there are hundreds of thousands of these appeals. That is very many sick and disabled people being put under additional stress through having considerably less money to overcome their everyday difficulties.
Recent government figures have shown that nearly 90 people a month have died after being declared fit to work.
A direct connection to their assessment obviously cannot be made, but all of these people had been declared fit to work by the assessor.
This cannot be just a coincidence.
In view of the links between disability, long term conditions and poverty, particularly in relation to increasing child poverty, how can this not have a very serious impact on the quality of living standard for disabled people, who face extra costs in most areas of their lives?
From higher transport costs to get to work, to the cost of an electric wheelchair; from higher energy costs, to a lack of access to affordable home contents insurance, the list is long.
Disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty, according to the charity Scope. Time to show you appreciate that if small businesses need support then those with mental health problems or other disability also need sufficient to enable them to prepare for work.
The bill will be returning to the Commons for further debate.
Please Mr Bingham think carefully about its impact on those it is aimed at before voting.