The government must undertake a wholesale review of its plans to cut a raft of disability benefits, say Liberal Democrat MPs.
Ministers propose to reduce expenditure on disability living allowance by 20% over four years for working-age people, limit sickness benefits for some claimants to one year and may remove mobility allowance from disabled people in residential care.
“I don’t think they have thought through the consequences of what they are doing,” said Mike Hancock, Lib Dem MP for Portsmouth South.
He said he wanted to see a fundamental review of the government’s approach to disability benefits. “I’m hoping that we can put pressure on them to rethink what they are doing.”
Hancock is one of a number of Lib Dem MPs who have signed an early day motion, which calls on the government to rethink its approach to disability benefit reform.
“There’s a growing concern as MPs become more aware about the consequence of the proposed changes,” said Andrew George, MP for St Ives.
George backed Hancock’s call for wholesale review, adding he would be pushing for the government to take a pause in the way it has done with its controversial NHS reforms.
Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, said: “I’m concerned that, in the rush to make changes, people with disabilities are in danger of missing out.”
The government’s impetus for cutting the cost of benefits was too heavily driven by economic concerns rather than improving help for disabled people, Hancock said.
“Whichever way you look at it, it’s not terribly clever. It doesn’t help disabled people to get back into work if it’s about people having their benefits cut,” said George. He said the government needed to look more closely at the incentives to work to tackle disabled people’s unemployment.
“We are not in favour of restoring public finances at the expense of the most vulnerable.”
Russell added: “I hope that consensus based on commonsense comes out of this.”
Earlier this month Lords and Labour MPs called on the Lib Dems to step in to combat the effect of government cuts on disabled people as thousands of disabled people protested in London against benefit reform.
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