POLITICS

Budget 2016: George Osborne's Cuts Means 370,000 Disabled People Will Lose £3,500 A Year

Tory opposition to the plans is growing

17/03/2016 15:55 GMT | Updated 17/03/2016 16:00 GMT
PA/PA Wire

George Osborne has been warned his cuts to disability benefits will see 370,000 disabled people lose an average of £3,500 a year, as Tory opposition to the plans grow.

The chancellor yesterday confirmed £4.4bn would be slashed from benefits for disabled people over the course of the parliament by cutting Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

PIP are used to help disabled people who struggle to get dressed, travel or use the toilet.

This morning the chancellor defended his Budget, but hinted be may rethink the benefit cuts.

Tory MPs unhappy with the cuts have put their names to a letter to the chancellor outlining their concerns.

 

IFS

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s the World at One, Conservative Andrew Percy said the cuts would hit "exactly the wrong people".

"I think the savings that it makes are not appropriate and I don’t think can be justified so it’s just not acceptable now," he said.

"A lot of other measures in the Budget yesterday were very good, very positive, very progressive. This wasn’t one of them and we just need to go away and think about this again."

Percy said more than a dozen Tory backbenchers shared his concerns and were prepared to vote against the cuts.

"The government only has a majority of 12 so it doesn’t have a great deal to play with anyway, but I think it’s fair to say that the concern being expressed by people – which ranges from just generally wanting to know more to deep opposition – is much more significant than the size of the government’s majority and that obviously will be a concern for the government," he said.

In its analysis of Osborne's Budget, the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said voters should expect an extra year of austerity and "lower wages and living standards".

The IFS also pointed out the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had calculated 370,000 disabled people would lose £3,500 a year.

Defending the government's spending on disability benefits, Osborne said this morning spending was "focused on those who need our help most".

"We are increasing the support, increasing the money that is going to disabled people, so that money is going to go up as a budget because we’ve got to make sure we help the most vulnerable in our society,' he said.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Osborne insisted the government was "increasing" the support it was giving to disabled people overall.

But in a sign he may be willing to soften the cuts, he added: "I’m always happy to listen to proposals that others might have on how we can improve on that."

The cuts have led a Tory disability campaigner to quit the party and sabotage a party website in protest at the chancellor "robbing the vulnerable to pay the rich".

 

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