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6 December 2012
Wednesday, 5 December 2012 saw the delivery of George Osborne’s Autumn statement. The Government announced they will be putting a 1 per cent cap on the rates of certain benefits, including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which helps those who are unable to, or need support back into, work.
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns, commented:
“It’s good to see that no reference was made to cutting rates of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which helps with the extra day-to-day costs that result from having a disability. It is not clear however whether this will translate when DLA is replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in April 2013 which is already being introduced with a 20 per cent cut in overall spend.
“We are also concerned by the welfare ‘uprating’ for certain benefits like Employment Support Allowance, so that they rise by no more than 1 per cent for the next three years. This cap will hit people hard, many of whom have mental health problems and already live on the breadline. When you combine this with the ongoing inadequacies of the Work Capability Assessment to assess whether people are fit for work, its easy to see why we are seeing more and more people needing support as a result of the distress caused by these welfare reforms.
“Any savings achieved from the welfare bill will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on our health service as people’s health may deteriorate. We urge the Government to reconsider this short sighted move.”