The government was once again heavily defeated in the House of Lords over plans to cut £30 per week from the benefit of new claimants in the work-related activity group (WRAG) of employment and support allowance (ESA) yesterday.
The House of Lords voted by 286 votes to 219 against reducing the level of payments for claimants, many of whom have degenerative diseases or serious mental health conditions, to the same level as jobseeker’s allowance. The cut is due to be introduced in April 2017 and will not affect current claimants.
The government claim the measure will give ESA claimants an incentive to find work. However, the Lords’ amendment requires the government to make a formal assessment of what effect the cuts will have on claimants’ health, income and work prospects before they can be brought in. Not surprisingly, this is something the government very much wish to avoid doing.