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MPs vote unanimously in favour of pausing ESA cuts, but nothing changes

MPs voted 127 to 0 in favour of a motion to pause cuts to employment and support allowance, due to be introduced in April 2017. The motion was supported by MPs from across the House, including some Conservatives, but the government is free to ignore it.

The motion, debated on 17 November, noted that new ESA claimants are due to lose almost £30 a week from April 2017 and that “these cuts are due to take place before the promised Work and Health programme Green Paper can be considered or implemented”. It called on the government not to introduce them until measures to halve the disability employment gap have been put in place.

Supporters of the motion included 85 Labour MPs, 29 SNP MPs, 3 Lib Dems and the following 5 Conservatives:

Heidi Allen,

David Burrowes,

Philip Hollobone,

Jeremy Lefroy,

Tania Mathias.

The motion is only able to send a message to the government, however. As matters stand the cuts, which will see new ESA claimants in the work-related activity group get the same payment as claimants on jobseeker’s allowance, will still go ahead from April next year.

The full text of the motion was:

“That this House notes the Government’s plans to reduce the Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity component and the corresponding limited capability for work component in universal credit in April 2017; further notes that this measure will cut the weekly amount received by recipients with long-term health conditions or disabilities by £30 and that these cuts are due to take place before the promised Work and Health programme Green Paper can be considered or implemented; and therefore calls on the Government to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to postpone the cuts to Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity component and the corresponding limited capability for work component in universal credit until appropriate alternative measures to progress the commitment to halve the disability employment gap have been considered, in order to secure support for current and future claimants so that sick and disabled people are supported adequately when they are unable to work.”

You can read the full debate on the Hansard website

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