Charities have rightly been arguing against specific benefit cuts on behalf of their members and their beneficiaries; drawing evidence from disabled people, carers and also from their own professional staff; and making the case for excluding some of the most vulnerable and poorest members of society from further cuts to their limited income.
In the next few hours the debate over the future of Employment and Support Allowance will be decided. The impact on many disabled people could be significant. The government's defeat in the House of Lords on Monday offered disabled people at risk of losing as much as £30 a week in benefit support, a temporary reprieve.
There are strong feelings around the proposed changes to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for those who are in the Work Related Activity Group (those people found unable to work but able to take part in some activities that could move them closer to work). We strongly believe that rather than halving the employment gap it will push people further in to poverty and as such, further away from work. In fact a report recently published by Low Lord, Baroness Meacher and myself called 'Halving the Gap' found no evidence to suggest that reducing someone's ESA will provide the incentive that the Government believes it will.
There is no evidence that the work ethics of people with long-term sickness are any worse than the average person, and in some respects they are better. Studies frequently find that the long-term sick want to work - which is not the same as being able to work, but does show that fecklessness is unlikely to be the problem here.
David Cameron has spoken of his belief in a 'compassionate nation' - one that protects the most vulnerable. If his Government is serious about this, they need to make sure that they protect all disability benefits and housing benefit for younger disabled people. Only then will people on the autism spectrum receive the support they need to live independent and fulfilling lives.