Defend disabled people protest. Photo: Paul Mattsson
Defend disabled people protest. Photo: Paul Mattsson

Lindsey Morgan, Socialist Party and Unite member

One million disabled people could lose £350 a month each, under Tory plans that amount to more pressure on the already unwell to take up work. The Work Capability Assessment is set to be scrapped.

This is the barbaric test which has caused undue hardship and stress to many disabled people. They were forced to prove their disability to be granted Employment Support Allowance (ESA). Personal Independence Payment (PIP) remains unchanged.

The Tories’ new ‘voluntary’ Universal Support will mean up to £4,000 a year for just 50,000 disabled people – nowhere near enough. Plus there are more draconian sanctions where you lose all support if you can’t work.

A claimant I know asked their work coach what they had to do on the new scheme. They were told just sign up, and they’ll get in touch.

When they then said they needed to know, their work coach admitted they didn’t have the details. But this claimant, who had caring responsibilities, was told that if they didn’t sign up, it would be counted as ‘refusal to do work-related activity’.

Although the claimant offered to do other work-related activity, they were advised they would need to appeal. If the course is ‘voluntary’, why aren’t work coaches being advised to give claimants a choice?

Tory chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Conservatives believe work is a virtue”. With all their resistance to pay increases, and weak help with the cost of living, clearly they don’t think work is a virtue, or that people deserve to live a good life.

Capitalist employers put profit first, and are resistant to making adjustments in the workplace for disabled people. And the capitalist system, which exacerbates disability and misery, has made thousands of potential workers too ill to work.

The NHS is in dire straits from cuts and privatisation, with huge waiting lists. People aren’t able to do the jobs they want to do, and get the support they deserve to have.

Hunt’s budget is socialism for the rich and barbarism for the poor. The benefits system needs a complete overhaul, with living benefits that rise with the cost of living, and genuine, practical help to support people into work who can work, and stop punishing those who can’t.

  • Read more working-class people respond to inadequate Tory childcare plans, and the rest of the budget here