The government has been accused of creating a “hostile environment” for disabled people after it was revealed almost 50,000 have been hit by benefit cuts in the past year.
Analysis by the Labour Party revealed the government’s decision to cut the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by almost £30 per week for some new claimants in a bid to encourage more people into work had affected 46,000 sick and disabled people.
The controversial welfare policy – which was introduced in April 2017 – saw ESA payments for those judged fit to work dropped to the same level as the Jobseeker’s Allowance, despite charities including Disability Rights UK warning it would have a “devastating” impact on disabled people and actually make it harder for them to find employment.
Labour’s research found 29,000 of the disabled people hit by the cuts in the past year – around two-thirds of the entire group – suffer from mental or behavioural disorders.
Meanwhile, the party estimated that approximately half a million people will be hit when the cut takes full effect.
Calling for the government to reverse the slash to benefits, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, Marsha de Cordova said: “The Tories’ relentless attacks on disabled people are appalling”.
“This cruel cut is yet another example of the hostile environment the Government has created for disabled people.
“On the UN International Day of Disabled People, the Tories should do the right thing and reverse this pernicious cut.”
The Department for Work and Pensions has been contacted for comment.