By Claire Gordon •
Published: 04 Dec 2021 • 19:06
Conservative MPs have broken a key manifesto pledge after a commitment to changing the way disabled Brits are assessed for a key benefit was thrown out. The move has been called a £70 million ‘stealth cut’ by critics and means thousands will lose out.
The 2019 manifesto promised to double the minimum Personal Independent Payments award, the amount of time before a claimant is reassessed for their money, to 18 months. They claimed the change would “empower and support disabled people”, saying “you should not have to provide repeated proof of your disability to receive support.”
A Green Paper issued in the summer threw the pledge out, however, saying “better triage and testing would be more effective”, and now details brought to light after the budget shows the move will save the government tens of millions of pounds.
On average, regular assessments lead to reduced benefits, with payment stoppages that do not include repayment even if found to be mistaken. It is one of many broken manifesto pledges by the Conservative government, adding to the loss of the pension triple lock, National Insurance hike, and ensuring that no one would have to sell their home to pay for care.
The Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Annaliese Dodds has written to the Minister for Disabled People, Chloe Smith. She has asked why an impact assessment has not been completed for the move against disabled Brits. She wrote: “Without answers to those questions, it is hard to conclude anything other than this was a £70 million stealth cut to disabled people that the government was hoping would not be noticed.”
She added: “The government need to come clean about its plans for a stealth cut to disability benefits buried away at the back of the budget. On International Day for Disabled People, the government should be acting in their best interests – not trying to sneak yet another cut past them.”
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