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Welfare Reform and Disabled People

Volume 608: debated on Thursday 14 April 2016

12. What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the effect on equality for disabled people of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. (904453)

The Government set out our assessment of the impact of the welfare policies in the Welfare Reform and Work Act on 20 July 2015. Spending on disabled people will be higher in real terms in every year to 2020 than in 2010.

A Lords Select Committee report published last month said that the Government had hurt disabled people disproportionately through inaction on the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, through spending cuts and cuts to legal aid, and through removing protections with their red tape challenge. Will the Government apologise for their lack of respect for disabled people and for the complete contempt in which they hold them?

If we look at the facts, we find that the Government are spending £50 billion every year on benefits alone to support people with disabilities or health conditions—that is more than 6% of Government spending. I think that answers the hon. Lady’s question very clearly.

Research by Unison indicates that no group will be more adversely affected by welfare reform than people with disabilities. We are at risk of regressing on issues of equality. When will the Government actively heed the voice of people with disabilities and reverse these damaging policies?

I remind the hon. Lady that this Government have done more for disabled people than any Government before us. [Hon. Members: “Rubbish!”] I have just outlined the amount of money that this Government are spending. Under this Government, there are more than 3.2 million disabled people in employment. Employment helps people to have more fulfilled lives. We do not give up on people, unlike the Opposition parties.