Author Topic: Backbench motion on reduction to ESA WRAG rates  (Read 1185 times)

NeuralgicNeurotic

  • Charter Member and Volunteer
  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7373
Backbench motion on reduction to ESA WRAG rates
« on: November 17, 2016, 05:36:36 PM »
Debate begins at 12:09:28. Use the clickable list at the right of the screen to navigate back to this.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/99da1ec6-4cd2-4f51-9d90-41463e0ed657

Nothing binding can come from this debate - it's a protest motion only. Amazing how Tory backbenchers can speak out when there's nothing at stake for them.  :-(

NeuralgicNeurotic

  • Charter Member and Volunteer
  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7373
Re: Backbench motion on reduction to ESA WRAG rates
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2016, 02:35:49 PM »
Her is the Guardian write up of the debate and vote.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/17/tory-mps-call-for-welfare-cuts-rethink-after-pause-motion-passed


Quote
Heidi Allen, the Conservative MP who has led calls for a rethink on welfare cuts, said she could think of no other issue “so regretted by colleagues on my side of the house”.

“I have a guiding principle in life,” she went on. “Always listen to the loudest voice in your head. You might choose to ignore it, you might try and drown it out with distractions and other arguments. But you know it’s there. In fact, you can sometimes see it when you look in the mirror.

“I think we all know what that voice is saying. Let’s just pause these cuts. The £30 represents 29% of the weekly income of some half a million people. It’s big money for relatively few people. Let’s just pause. The risk of damage is high. The financial cost to pause is low. What kind of a government do we want to be?”

Peter Aldous, the Tory MP for Waveney, said he was concerned there “has not been a full and proper impact assessment of the proposed changes”.

Jeremy Lefroy, another Tory MP, spoke about his own father, a vicar, who became disabled when he was 34 but continued working until retirement with help from welfare schemes. Lefroy said he took issue with the cut, which brought down ESA to the same level as jobseekers’ allowance, because ill or disabled people preparing to return to work often had higher costs of living.

“There’s the additional costs for heating ... additional costs for food, some of the diets involved are expensive,” he said. “The cost of transport is expensive as one goes frequently to hospital and doctor’s appointments.”




Quote
The MP for Enfield Southgate, Tory David Burrowes, praised colleagues for supporting the motion but said he did not consider them “particularly brave” for speaking out on the issue. “The people who are brave in this debate, though, are those who are trying to make ends meet. They’re the brave people we care about and we have to do more for them,” he said.

The Department for Work and Pensions has pledged that a new package of support to give practical help for re-entering the workforce will be in place by the time the cuts come into force in April.

The work and pensions minister, Penny Mordaunt, replying to the debate, said: “Proof we have listened and understood will be in our actions and a person’s experience of the system and support they receive is the only thing that will assure confidence in that system.”

Speaking to the Guardian after the debate, Allen said she had detected a change of tone. “I think they are listening, and I do get the sense the door is more open than we might have thought, even if it is not a U-turn on the cut, but an extra fund to make up the difference.”



Quote
However, the DWP stressed there were no plans to unpick previously announced cuts in Hammond’s autumn statement or beyond. “Our reforms are increasing the incentives for people to move into a job rather than staying on benefits, while keeping an important safety net in place for those who are vulnerable or unable to work,” a department spokesman said.

On Wednesday, Tory MPs voted down a Labour motion to scrap the cuts. The opposition motion also called on the government to reveal its distributional analysis ahead of the autumn statement – a breakdown of how hard various income brackets are hit by spending cuts.

No figures have been published since 2015, but the motion was defeated by 24 votes.

NeuralgicNeurotic

  • Charter Member and Volunteer
  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7373
Re: Backbench motion on reduction to ESA WRAG rates
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2016, 11:53:23 AM »
DPAC has provided some materials for anyone who wishes to continue lobbying their MP to campaign against the cuts to the ESA WRAG:

http://dpac.uk.net/2016/11/lobby-your-mp-to-vote-against-the-esa-cut-noesacut/

The page contains memes and videos which can be tweeted to MPs.

They have also compiled a good briefing document which helps to debunk various myths surrounding the ESA WRAG:

http://dpac.uk.net/2016/11/briefing-for-mps-re-esa-cut-and-challenging-the-tory-myths/


Quote
Briefing for MPs re-ESA cut and challenging the Tory myths


On 17th November the House passed a cross party motion to delay and review the proposed implementation of the ESA Cut of £29/week to new claimants of the ESA Work Related Activity Group.

 

Disabled People Against Cuts are campaigning to have this cut cancelled but today we are asking you as MPs to lobby the Chancellor to postpone the proposed ESA cut until we know the details of the support on offer, and whether this support compensates adequately the loss of £29 per week for claimants in the WRAG.




Quote
Please consider the following points

 

The ESA cut is worth £450m per year (i). The employment support for claimants in the WRAG is only £60 to £100 million a year[ii] while the Work Programme received £500-£600 million each year[iii]. This represents a huge reduction in support for disabled people to gain work.
   

This employment support will not benefit claimants who cannot and will not be able to work who are misplaced into the WRAG. These are people with progressive illnesses (1/3 of these claimants are initially placed in the WRAG)[iv], claimants given a 2 year+ prognosis (defined by DWP as unlikely to work again)[v], or claimants wrongly placed in the WRAG, who after Mandatory Reconsiderations or appeals move onto the Support Group[vi].

   
This same group of claimants will not benefit from the flexible support fund, a discretionary fund, which provides local support for costs, related to getting into work, such as travel to and from training and travel costs when in work, for the reasons mentioned above.
 

Extension of hardship fund to new groups. The hardship fund is notoriously hard to access, because of very strict eligibility rules (claimants have to be almost destitute to be entitled), and the payments are also modest, discretionary, and of a temporary nature. Most importantly, payments will become recoverable under Universal Credit, driving more claimants into debt[vii]. Evidence also shows that these payments are not advertised by jobcentres and that their take-up is very low[viii]
   

Deals with third parties to help with expenditure not directly related to employment: broadband costs, phone charges, energy costs and insurance. That could be the only scheme likely to benefit the type of claimants we mentioned.




Quote
The Minister for Disabled People has given assurance that these schemes will fully compensate for the loss of the payments for new claimants[ix], but because of the flaws in the Work Capability Assessment, the claimants in the WRAG who need the most support because they are unable to work, and have no prospect of moving into work ever again will be the most severely penalised.

           
We already know that a third of ESA recipients are running a budget deficit (x), and that 49% of disabled people rely on credit cards or loans to pay for everyday items such as food and clothing[xi]. This ESA cut is the last thing they need.