Tag Archives: disability benefits

Lib Dem Lords aim to kill new Tory restrictions on disability benefits

The Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion to kill Government attempts to severely restrict disability benefits.

The move follows an announcement by the Government that they will be tightening the criteria for claimants of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which could see diabetics and those with mental illnesses stuck without support. The Government has introduced these restrictions after losing two cases at tribunals.  From the Minister’s statement:

The first judgement held that needing support to take medication and monitor a health condition should be scored in the same way as needing support to manage therapy, like dialysis, undertaken at home. Until this ruling, the assessment made a distinction between these two groups, on the basis that people who need support to manage therapy of this kind are likely to have a higher level of need, and therefore face higher costs.

The second held that someone who cannot make a journey without assistance due to psychological distress should be scored in the same way as a person who needs assistance because they have difficulties navigating. By way of example, the first group might include some people with isolated social phobia or anxiety, whereas the second group might include some people who are blind. Until this ruling, the assessment made a distinction between these two groups, on the basis that people who cannot navigate, due to a visual or cognitive impairment, are likely to have a higher level of need, and therefore face higher costs.

Responding to the announcement Baroness Cathy Bakewell, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

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Purvis slams Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson over disability benefit cuts

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson  had a really bad interview on Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland today. She struggled on her plans to re-introduce prescription charges, to abolish free university tuition (which was secured by the Scottish Liberal Democrats in coalition with Labour back in 2001) and over free schools. She didn’t get grilled enough for our liking on her plans to do all that while cutting taxes for the richest, but you can’t have everything.

At around 2 hours 18 minutes in, the subject turned to cuts to disability benefits. Ruth says she opposed them before Iain Duncan Smith resigned although there is no record of her having done so. In fact, she praised George Osborne’s budget the day it came out. When pressed on exactly how she had expressed her opposition, she laughed. It was a nervous. hollow laugh, but, just as when Willie Rennie pursued this same point with her during the tv debate on Tuesday, it was clear that she was struggling to answer.

Jeremy Purvis, the Scottish Lib Dems’ campaign chair, said of her interview:

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Farron and Rennie react to IDS resignation

Well, that was a surprise last night. I was lying in my bed feeling ill, as I have been for days, when the news came through that Iain Duncan Smith had resigned. My instinctive reaction was to worry. IDS was probably about as good as it gets when it comes to the Tories and social security. His replacement is likely to have even less of a social conscience.

I totally accept that the bar is not very high here. I do wonder how somebody can happily cut £30 a week off sickness benefits just weeks ago, introduce the benefit cap, limiting of Employment and Support Allowance, Bedroom Tax and impose the Universal Credit cuts and finally resign over the issue of disability benefit cuts which looked like they were being kicked into the long grass anyway.  IDS’s resignation letter talks a good fight in the last paragraph, where he asks what we’ve all been saying for years, whether we really are all in this together, but it justifies many of the things that most Liberal Democrats found unacceptable. This, of course is before you even get to the capping benefits at two children and the “rape clause” that requires a mother of a third child to prove rape in some unspecified way before she can get benefits for her third child. And don’t get me started on benefit sanctions. Have I missed anything?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Opinion: What is the cumulative impact of cuts on disabled people?

With the Conservative ring-fencing of 40% plus of the welfare budget because it goes to a section of society which disproportionately votes Conservative (e.g. pensioners), it should come as no surprise to anyone that the forcing of all welfare cuts onto the remainder of recipients has hurt a lot of people.

Amongst those most badly effected are disabled people. Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (formerly known as incapacity benefit) has been time limited to one year. Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments and will have been cut by 20% by 2015. Social care services are being cut …

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