A letter to my MP on cuts to the ESA

This week the government forced through a cut to the Employment and Support Allowance – what used to be incapacity benefit – and overuled objection in the Lords by claiming ‘financial privilege.’ Members of the upper house had expressed concern and were seeking an impact assessment but this is now forced through as yet another step on the Conservative government’s path to dismantling the welfare state and widening the gap between the haves and have-nots. 

Find out if your MP voted for the cuts here: www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/esa-wrag-disability-benefit-cut-disabled-mps-vote-tories-iain-duncan-smith-a6918556.html

My MP voted in favour so I’ve written to him to ask why. My letter is as below and I’ll add any response I receive as a comment to this blog entry.

I write via writetothem.com – why not give it a go if you feel strongly enough?

Dear Mel Stride,

I hope this finds you well. I am writing to you regarding the recent
vote on cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which I noted
that you were in favour of. I have searched the list of responses to
campaigns on your website and don’t believe you have issued a statement
on this matter yet.

I have followed this issue for a while and hoped that the government
might opt for an impact assessment first rather than simply ‘implement
and damn the consequences’ as with the bedroom tax and other cuts but
the decision was taken to force this through despite objections in the
Lords. (financial privilege was used to overrule this as I understand

I wonder how this is justified? The argument that cutting this support
for the disabled and long-term ill might incentivise them to find work
seems insensitive and blinkered at best. Who could honestly think that
£100 per week is over-generous? Do ministers and MPs think that anyone,
disabled or not will choose to not work as they can comfortably live on
£100? Bearing in mind MPs have accepted a payrise greater than £100 per
week it is hard not to accuse our elected representatives of been out
of touch.

It was reported last year that the United Nations was due to
investigate the UK and that cuts targeting certain social groups
including the disabled were in the spotlight. This was before the
latest cuts which seem to be blatantly an infringement of their rights;
as though they have a lesser place in our society. Even having seen a
rise in homelessness and dependency on foodbanks increase over the past
5 years this latest measure seems truly disgraceful.

Am I missing the point?  I have looked hard for some justification but
have yet to find it and would appreciate some insight on this.

Yours sincerely,

Rich Mills


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