When asked if he would rule out taxing disability benefits in a television interview on BBC breakfast this morning, David Cameron failed to do so, saying only:
“What we’ve done through this parliament is we’ve actually improved the money that goes to the most disabled people in our country. We’ve replaced one benefit – disability living allowance – with a new benefit – personal independence payment – it’s working well, it is also going to lead to some savings over time and we haven’t created that benefit in order to undermine it. We want to enhance it and safeguard it.
“As we look to find those welfare savings we should apply some very clear principles: one, that work should always pay; two, that the most disabled should always be protected, we look after those in need; and third, people who have paid into the system and look forward to a dignified retirement, we should look after them too”.
The assertion that "the most disabled should always be protected" allows the Conservative party to decide who "the most disabled" are. It leaves them free to, for example, do away with the work-related activity group (WRAG) of employment and support allowance on the grounds that people in the WRAG are not the most disabled.
The reality is that the majority of disabled people would be astonished to learn that the money they have received has been ‘improved’ under the coalition.
They would not be at all surprised at plans to cut their income via taxation after the next election.