COLUMN: Cuts are merciless, by Gloria De Piero MP

MP Gloria De Piero
MP Gloria De Piero

Imagine you are disabled and the money you rely on to help you live as normally as possible is suddenly withdrawn for no good reason.

It would be devastating.

But this is what disabled and ill people up and down the country are encountering due to the Tories’ decision to cut their benefits. Employment Support Allowance (Work Related Activity Group) is being slashed by nearly £30 a week for new claimants while the number of people entitled to Personal Independence Payments, or PIP, is also being limited. As the Government mercilessly looks to make savings from the welfare budget, some disabled people find themselves being treated unsympathetically and with suspicion by the people doing their benefit reviews.

A Sutton man who suffered permanent brain damage following an accident in 2003 and now cannot work, went for an ESA assessment in Mansfield recently. He has checks every three years but got in touch with me because he was so upset at the assessor’s aggression and attitude at this assessment. He said he was made to feel worthless and wants the way he has been treated to be made known so

it doesn’t happen again. I am awaiting a response from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Meanwhile, a lady from the Selston area got in touch with me after her daughter had her PIP stopped following a review. The young lady cannot stand or walk unaided and has multiple difficulties, but she has not let this get in the way of life and is currently attending university. However the DWP has now stopped her PIP following what her mum described as a harsh and unfair review.

While she awaits a tribunal date, she is without her mobility award and life is consequently that bit more difficult.

It seems unbelievable that some of the most vulnerable people in our society are at risk of being pushed into poverty because of the callous swinging of the Government’s axe. But they have ignored cross-party select committees and tribunal rulings to proceed with the cuts, come what may.

One thing is for sure, Labour will stand with disabled people, who have already suffered the effects of seven years of austerity, in fighting this injustice.