Disability Benefit Cuts “Among Policies Changing Things For The Better” Says Stephen Crabb
Disability benefit cuts are among policies “changing things for the better”, the new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb has said.
Mr Crabb made the claim at his first Work and Pensions Questions session in the House of Commons, during which he was asked how he differed from his recently departed predecessor Iain Duncan Smith.
Owen Smith, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, has urged a U-turn on ESA cuts, telling Mr Crabb that disabled people would be “be disappointed he won’t reverse” them.
He also cited changes to pensions for women born in the 1950s and cuts to in-work benefits incorporated into Universal Credit.
But Mr Crabb defended the Government’s approach, saying there was “no reason” to change it.
“We are a government that has helped deliver the changes that has seen a huge fall in workless household, we’re seeing nearly half a million more children growing up in a home, seeing a mum or dad going up to work,” he said.
“There is no reason to change policies that are changing things for the better for those who have least in our society.”
The Government dropped plans to cut the Personal Independence Payment disability benefit after Mr Crabb’s predecessor resigned over it.
However ministers are ploughing ahead with cuts to Employment and Support Allowance, which will see some new claimants lose £30 a week.
Research by disability charities has previously suggested the cuts will make it more difficult for disabled people to find work and that it would hinder the Government’s goal of halving the disability employment gap.
The Disability Benefits Consortium also found that the current rate of ESA has left around a third of claimants struggling to afford to buy food.
Those cuts will take place from April 2017 and will apply to new claimants put into the Work Related Activity Group. They were passed by MPs earlier this year.