Disability campaigners are celebrating today after peers from across the House of Lords voted yesterday to reject a 50% cut to disabled children’s benefits.
The cuts would reduce the support available to thousands of families with disabled children by £1400 per year, campaigners have warned.
The amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill – tabled after 5,000 supporters of the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign (EDCM) emailed prime minister David Cameron to oppose the cuts – will now be considered by the House of Commons today.
Baroness Meacher, a former social worker, said the government’s proposals would have a devastating effect on families with disabled children, particularly those on low incomes receiving middle rate Disability Living Allowance.
“There are hundreds of thousands of families desperate about cuts to disabled children’s benefits. The pressure of this is difficult to ignore,” she said.
Christine Lenehan, an EDCM Board Member, said she was “delighted” the House of Lords had opposed the cuts. “Families with disabled children have told us these cuts would have a devastating effect to their ability to cope financially.
“We welcome the commitment from Lord Freud to look again at who will receive support, and we look forward to a public consultation on this. We now look to MPs in the House of Commons to honour this amendment,” she said.
Enver Solomon, policy director at The Children’s Society, said: “The Lords have shown their support for disabled children and sent a strong message to the government not to remove this vital lifeline.
He said the cuts could have a “massive impact” on day-to-day living for families with disabled children, including buying essentials like food and clothes.
“Our analysis shows that 40% of disabled children live in poverty, a far higher proportion than other children. Poverty from an early age could have a devastating effect on the lives of so many disabled children.”
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