Concern over the Welfare Reform Bill is clearly growing in a week when over 50 Peers spoke out in a debate on the Bill and the Liberal Democrat conference are preparing to vote on a motion questioning key aspects of the reforms.
Yesterday’s decision to hold the committee stage of the Bill away from the main chamber of the House of Lords is deeply frustrating. However, we were encouraged by the large number of Peers who voiced their concerns in this week’s debate. Many had heard the concerns of disabled people across the UK and had a real understanding of the negative impact this Bill could have on disabled people’s income and independence. We hope that this support will lead to amendments at the committee stage of the Bill.
Backing the Bill, Lord Freud asked Peers to support an end to the ‘something for nothing culture’, yet the response of fellow Peers shows that the Welfare Reform Bill risks creating a ‘nothing for some’ culture.
The proposed time limit on contributory Employment and Support
Allowance fails to acknowledge the complex issues that disabled people face in preparing for and finding work. While the arbitrary 20 per cent reduction target for the benefit that will replace Disability Living Allowance will deny many people vital help with the additional costs of living with a disability.
The continued support of those who voiced concerns is crucial if we are to have a fair welfare system that supports people with the additional challenges and costs of living with a disability or health condition. We urge Peers to make sure that their serious concerns about the Bill lead to practical amendments at committee stage and invite them to join us at one of the Hardest Hit events taking place across the UK this October, where disabled people will be speaking out against cuts to the benefits and services they need to live their lives.