Friday, 11 March 2016

On recent cuts to ESA

Earlier this week, the Conservatives voted to override the House of Lords and force through cuts of £30 to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) received by claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG). Only three Conservative MPs rebelled against this cruellest of cuts (Heidi Allen, Stephen McPartland and Jeremy Lefroy), which were also not supported by any non-Conservative MP. The bill confirming this is likely to gain Royal Assent soon, alas, given that the Lords cannot delay it any further.

I myself claimed WRAG payments whist I was working part-time given that I, like many autistic people, struggle to find full-time work in spite of academic and non-academic achievements. These extra disability payments are not only a necessity instead of a bonus, but they are also insufficient especially given how public sector cuts have impacted on disability support for adults, students, workers, otherwise. And no amount of money can overcome or even ease the problems autistic people face in the world of work and elsewhere-only a supportive and accepting work environment can help, as I have experienced.

In light of changes from DLA to PIP which are occurring at the same time (which worry me since I am a DLA claimant), this is dangerous news indeed. Now more than ever must we help each other and unite against those who for no reason other than greed and cruelty wish to hurt society's most vulnerable people.


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