Tens of thousands could lose benefits as part of welfare cuts

Third Force News, by Gareth Jones 


Around 30,000 people in Scotland could lose entitlement to disability benefits, once the full rollout of the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is complete.

A new report has highlighted the full impact welfare cuts are set to have on disabled Scots.

The Impact of UK Welfare Policy on Disabled People report examines the consequences of recent UK Government welfare policy changes on disabled people, including the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

The report found that between 7,000 to 10,000 disabled people per year are set to be affected by the removal of the work related activity component of employment support allowance (ESA).

Up to 40,000 disabled people claiming ESA have also been affected by the bedroom tax and around 30,000 disabled people could lose entitlement to non-means tested disability benefits due to re-assessment.

Bill Scott, director of policy at Inclusion Scotland, said the report confirmed that the disabled had been hardest hit by welfare cuts.

“A large proportion of the 30,000 losing entitlement to DLA will also be losing £29 a week of ESA,” he said.

“This means that tens of thousands of Scots households containing disabled people face a loss in income totalling several thousand pounds a year. That’s not even taking into account the hardship being caused to that same group by the introduction of universal credit.

“Disabled people and their families are being left hungry, cold and homeless by these cuts. Is it really any wonder that some have been driven to thoughts of suicide?”

Minister for social security Jeane Freeman said the report had caused the Scottish Government dismay.

She said: “The UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities issued a report earlier this year, which is damning of the UK Government and rightly highlights the changes urgently needed to halt the damage they are causing. That is why I’ve written to Penny Mordaunt, the minister for disabled people, calling on them to take action.

“The UK Government must listen to the cacophony of voices and growing evidence telling them about the damage their policies are causing and stop their assault on disabled people.”