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Peers unable to stop £30-a-week ESA disability benefit cut

Published 08/03/2016

Baroness Campbell, a former Commissioner of the Disability Rights Commission who herself uses a ventilator, told the House of Lords that 'words failed me'
Baroness Campbell, a former Commissioner of the Disability Rights Commission who herself uses a ventilator, told the House of Lords that 'words failed me'

The House of Lords has been unable to stop a planned £30-a-week cut to disability benefits forced through by Government MPs.

Charities have warned that the cut to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) WRAG would make it more difficult for disabled people to find work and that many struggled to afford food on the benefit at its current level.

The Government however says the cut, which applies to new claimaints, will incentivise disabled people to find work.

On 2 March MPs voted to reject a House of Lords plan for an impact assessment into the cuts.

Peers on Tuesday evening discussed the cuts - but were forced to wave them through because Ministers claimed "financial privilege" - meaning the Lords was not allowed to intervene.

The cuts will now go ahead.

Baroness Campbell says she was left speechless by 'bad arguments' for cutting disability benefits

Arguments made by the Government to justify sharp disability benefit cuts were so poor they left a peer lost for words, she has said.

Baroness Campbell told the House of Lords that “words failed me” when she had heard the Government’s justification for cutting Employment and Support Allowance by £30.

The peer, a former Commissioner of the Disability Rights Commission who herself uses a ventilator, is an expert in disability reform and the benefits system.

“Our arguments, in my view, were pretty indisputable, especially in regard to the absence of evidence that cutting severely disabled people’s ESA would incentivise them to work,” she said.

“I think we all know deep down inside that it is attitudinal and environmental discrimination that really prevents this group from accessing employment.”

The crossbench peer criticised arguments by the Government in support of the cut, which she said had allowed the “niceties of parliamentary protocol [to] trump the lives of disabled people”.

The Government argues that the sharp cut in weekly payments will incentivise disabled people to find work.

It also says because the cut involves money the House of Lords should not be able to block it.

Lord Low, another crossbencher who had proposed the rejected amendment, accused the Government of using “a pseudo-constitutional technicality” to force the measures through and said it was “a black day for disabled people”.

Baroness Campbell continued: “I hope and I pray that we don’t look back on this day as the moment we pushed some of the most severely disabled people in Britain over the edge.”

The peers were discussing the issue in the House of Lords after the Government invoked “financial privilege” on the cuts – meaning the peers could not overrule MPs.

This is a list of all the MPs who voted for the sharp cuts to disability benefits on 2 March, rejecting the call for an impact assessment.

  • Adams, Nigel
  • Afriyie, Adam
  • Aldous, Peter
  • Allan, Lucy
  • Andrew, Stuart
  • Ansell, Caroline
  • Argar, Edward
  • Atkins, Victoria
  • Bacon, Mr Richard
  • Baker, Mr Steve
  • Baldwin, Harriett
  • Barclay, Stephen
  • Baron, Mr John
  • Barwell, Gavin
  • Bebb, Guto
  • Bellingham, Sir Henry
  • Benyon, Richard
  • Beresford, Sir Paul
  • Berry, Jake
  • Berry, James
  • Bingham, Andrew
  • Blackman, Bob
  • Blackwood, Nicola
  • Blunt, Crispin
  • Boles, Nick
  • Bone, Mr Peter
  • Borwick, Victoria
  • Bottomley, Sir Peter
  • Bradley, Karen
  • Brady, Mr Graham
  • Brazier, Mr Julian
  • Bridgen, Andrew
  • Brine, Steve
  • Brokenshire, rh James
  • Buckland, Robert
  • Burns, Conor
  • Burns, rh Sir Simon
  • Burrowes, Mr David
  • Burt, rh Alistair
  • Cairns, Alun
  • Carmichael, Neil
  • Cartlidge, James
  • Cash, Sir William
  • Caulfield, Maria
  • Chalk, Alex
  • Chishti, Rehman
  • Chope, Mr Christopher
  • Churchill, Jo
  • Clark, rh Greg
  • Cleverly, James
  • Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
  • Coffey, Dr Thérèse
  • Collins, Damian
  • Colvile, Oliver
  • Costa, Alberto
  • Cox, Mr Geoffrey
  • Crabb, rh Stephen
  • Davies, Byron
  • Davies, Chris
  • Davies, David T. C.
  • Davies, Glyn
  • Davies, Dr James
  • Davies, Mims
  • Davies, Philip
  • Davis, rh Mr David
  • Dinenage, Caroline
  • Djanogly, Mr Jonathan
  • Donelan, Michelle
  • Dorries, Nadine
  • Double, Steve
  • Dowden, Oliver
  • Drax, Richard
  • Drummond, Mrs Flick
  • Duddridge, James
  • Duncan, rh Sir Alan
  • Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain
  • Dunne, Mr Philip
  • Ellis, Michael
  • Ellison, Jane
  • Ellwood, Mr Tobias
  • Elphicke, Charlie
  • Eustice, George
  • Evans, Graham
  • Evans, Mr Nigel
  • Evennett, rh Mr David
  • Fabricant, Michael
  • Fallon, rh Michael
  • Fernandes, Suella
  • Field, rh Mark
  • Foster, Kevin
  • Fox, rh Dr Liam
  • Francois, rh Mr Mark
  • Frazer, Lucy
  • Freeman, George
  • Freer, Mike
  • Fuller, Richard
  • Fysh, Marcus
  • Gale, Sir Roger
  • Garnier, rh Sir Edward
  • Garnier, Mark
  • Gauke, Mr David
  • Ghani, Nusrat
  • Gibb, Mr Nick
  • Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl
  • Glen, John
  • Goldsmith, Zac
  • Goodwill, Mr Robert
  • Gove, rh Michael
  • Graham, Richard
  • Gray, Mr James
  • Grayling, rh Chris
  • Green, Chris
  • Green, rh Damian
  • Greening, rh Justine
  • Grieve, rh Mr Dominic
  • Griffiths, Andrew
  • Gummer, Ben
  • Gyimah, Mr Sam
  • Halfon, rh Robert
  • Hall, Luke
  • Hammond, rh Mr Philip
  • Hammond, Stephen
  • Hancock, rh Matthew
  • Hands, rh Greg
  • Harper, rh Mr Mark
  • Harrington, Richard
  • Harris, Rebecca
  • Hart, Simon
  • Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan
  • Hayes, rh Mr John
  • Heald, Sir Oliver
  • Heappey, James
  • Heaton-Harris, Chris
  • Heaton-Jones, Peter
  • Henderson, Gordon
  • Herbert, rh Nick
  • Hinds, Damian
  • Hoare, Simon
  • Hollingbery, George
  • Hollinrake, Kevin
  • Hollobone, Mr Philip
  • Holloway, Mr Adam
  • Hopkins, Kris
  • Howarth, Sir Gerald
  • Howell, John
  • Howlett, Ben
  • Huddleston, Nigel
  • Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy
  • Hurd, Mr Nick
  • Jackson, Mr Stewart
  • James, Margot
  • Javid, rh Sajid
  • Jayawardena, Mr Ranil
  • Jenkin, Mr Bernard
  • Jenkyns, Andrea
  • Jenrick, Robert
  • Johnson, Boris
  • Johnson, Gareth
  • Johnson, Joseph
  • Jones, Andrew
  • Jones, rh Mr David
  • Jones, Mr Marcus
  • Kawczynski, Daniel
  • Kennedy, Seema
  • Knight, rh Sir Greg
  • Knight, Julian
  • Kwarteng, Kwasi
  • Lancaster, Mark
  • Leadsom, Andrea
  • Lee, Dr Phillip
  • Leigh, Sir Edward
  • Leslie, Charlotte
  • Letwin, rh Mr Oliver
  • Lewis, Brandon
  • Lewis, rh Dr Julian
  • Lidington, rh Mr David
  • Lilley, rh Mr Peter
  • Lopresti, Jack
  • Lord, Jonathan
  • Loughton, Tim
  • Lumley, Karen
  • Mackinlay, Craig
  • Mackintosh, David
  • Main, Mrs Anne
  • Mak, Mr Alan
  • Malthouse, Kit
  • Mann, Scott
  • Mathias, Dr Tania
  • Maynard, Paul
  • McCartney, Karl
  • McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick
  • Menzies, Mark
  • Mercer, Johnny
  • Merriman, Huw
  • Metcalfe, Stephen
  • Miller, rh Mrs Maria
  • Milling, Amanda
  • Mills, Nigel
  • Milton, rh Anne
  • Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew
  • Mordaunt, Penny
  • Morgan, rh Nicky
  • Morris, Anne Marie
  • Morris, David
  • Morris, James
  • Mowat, David
  • Mundell, rh David
  • Murray, Mrs Sheryll
  • Neill, Robert
  • Newton, Sarah
  • Nokes, Caroline
  • Norman, Jesse
  • Nuttall, Mr David
  • Offord, Dr Matthew
  • Opperman, Guy
  • Osborne, rh Mr George
  • Parish, Neil
  • Patel, rh Priti
  • Paterson, rh Mr Owen
  • Pawsey, Mark
  • Penning, rh Mike
  • Penrose, John
  • Percy, Andrew
  • Perry, Claire
  • Phillips, Stephen
  • Philp, Chris
  • Pickles, rh Sir Eric
  • Pincher, Christopher
  • Poulter, Dr Daniel
  • Prentis, Victoria
  • Prisk, Mr Mark
  • Pritchard, Mark
  • Pursglove, Tom
  • Quin, Jeremy
  • Quince, Will
  • Raab, Mr Dominic
  • Redwood, rh John
  • Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob
  • Robertson, Mr Laurence
  • Robinson, Mary
  • Rosindell, Andrew
  • Rudd, rh Amber
  • Rutley, David
  • Sandbach, Antoinette
  • Scully, Paul
  • Selous, Andrew
  • Shapps, rh Grant
  • Sharma, Alok
  • Shelbrooke, Alec
  • Simpson, rh Mr Keith
  • Skidmore, Chris
  • Smith, Chloe
  • Smith, Henry
  • Smith, Julian
  • Smith, Royston
  • Soames, rh Sir Nicholas
  • Solloway, Amanda
  • Soubry, rh Anna
  • Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline
  • Spencer, Mark
  • Stephenson, Andrew
  • Stevenson, John
  • Stewart, Bob
  • Stewart, Iain
  • Stewart, Rory
  • Stride, Mel
  • Stuart, Graham
  • Sturdy, Julian
  • Sunak, Rishi
  • Swayne, rh Mr Desmond
  • Swire, rh Mr Hugo
  • Syms, Mr Robert
  • Thomas, Derek
  • Throup, Maggie
  • Timpson, Edward
  • Tolhurst, Kelly
  • Tomlinson, Justin
  • Tomlinson, Michael
  • Tracey, Craig
  • Tredinnick, David
  • Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie
  • Truss, rh Elizabeth
  • Tugendhat, Tom
  • Turner, Mr Andrew
  • Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew
  • Vaizey, Mr Edward
  • Vara, Mr Shailesh
  • Vickers, Martin
  • Walker, Mr Charles
  • Walker, Mr Robin
  • Wallace, Mr Ben
  • Warburton, David
  • Warman, Matt
  • Watkinson, Dame Angela
  • Wharton, James
  • Whately, Helen
  • Wheeler, Heather
  • White, Chris
  • Whittaker, Craig
  • Whittingdale, rh Mr John
  • Wiggin, Bill
  • Williams, Craig
  • Williamson, rh Gavin
  • Wilson, Mr Rob
  • Wollaston, Dr Sarah
  • Wood, Mike
  • Wragg, William
  • Wright, rh Jeremy
  • Zahawi, Nadhim
  • Simon Kirby
  • Jackie Doyle-Price

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