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Means Tested Benefits

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2008

I am pleased to submit a petition on adjusting the permitted earnings disregard. The petition is presented on behalf of FOCUS, or Freedom of Choice United Services, which is an organisation within the Richmond Fellowship Scotland that campaigns to challenge stigma and improve the conditions of people on incapacity benefit. The petition, which has been signed by 3,512 people to date, seeks to help people on mean-tested incapacity benefit by raising the permitted earnings disregard. Raising the earnings disregard will allow people receiving the benefit to work and to earn more, by easing the limits placed on them in the work place. The petition states:

Permitted earnings enables people to increase their skills and confidence in the knowledge that their benefits will not be affected. In some cases this can be a stepping stone to future employment.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to introduce legislation making an adjustment to the £20 Permitted Earnings disregard to get it back to its original value and that this revised amount is then increased each year in line with inflation.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.