British chancellor George Osborne is going to raise almost £4.4 billion from his cuts to disabled peoples benefit to fund a tax cut for the rich.
The cruel blow to around 640,000 people who receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will be even worse than charities and the Labour party had predicted.
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The Mirror reports:
When the move was announced last week, Iain Duncan Smith claimed it was a minor tweak worth £1.2billion to how benefits are calculated.
And the Tory chancellor said today it would ensure “support is better targeted at those who need it most”.
But the small print of his Budget reveals the full, devastating impact to people who struggle to use the toilet or get dressed
Cutting the benefit will net George Osborne £15million in 2016/17, exploding to £590million in 2017/18 and £1.19billion in 2018/19.
Because the cut is aimed at new claimants the figure will continue to soar, reaching £1.3billion in 2019/20 and £1.28billion in 2020/21.
The total is £4.375billion.
And it is being used to hand the rich a £523-a-year tax cut by raising the threshold for higher rate income tax by more than £2,500.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn blasted the cut in the House of Commons.
“This budget has unfairness at its very core, paid for by those who can least afford it,” he fumed.
“He could not have made his priorities clearer.”
Shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith saidr: “Politics is all about priorities and the Tories have nailed theirs to the doors of parliament today.
“It’s a shameful way to govern and even with such brutal cuts the Tories are failing by their own measure on debt and borrowing, as they can’t get the economy growing properly.”
Charities reacted with outrage.
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said: “Changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will increase anxiety and fear in thousands of people with MS.
“This is a vital benefit and access to it needs improving – not restricting further.
“These changes will fail to support those that are most in need. We’re deeply concerned and urge the Government not to proceed.”
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy added: “Disabled people who rely on PIP for help to get dressed or use the toilet will be worried about the impact this Budget has on their ability to live an independent life.
“People sought our help with 287,000 PIP issues in 2015 – making it the most common issue we give advice on.
“Many of the problems relate to how PiP is being implemented – included wrong decisions and double booking of medical assessments.
“It’s premature for the Government to make such a fundamental change to PIP before it’s implemented properly.”
The changes are making it harder for PIP claimants who struggle to use the toilet or get dressed to qualify for the benefit.
This is being done by shaking up the system by which they earn “points” for how disabled they are.
Claimants need eight points for the £55-a-week standard rate or 12 points for the £82-a-week enhanced rate.
But they will now earn only one point, instead of two, if they use ‘aids and appliances’ like a walking stick or handrail.
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