Today I am calling on the House of Lords to defend 970 of my most vulnerable constituents; people with cancer, learning disabilities, mental health problems, and degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s. They are all at risk of having their income reduced cut from £102.15 to £73.10 per week as the Conservatives attempt to reduce the support available to those with long term illness and disabilities.
The people that are being affected want to work, they want to contribute to society, and they don’t want to be stuck at home. What they need from a government is help. Help in developing skills, help applying for jobs, and financial support that means they are not living in poverty.
However our current government does not understand this. They can only distinguish between those in work and those not in work. They think if you don’t work it’s your fault, even if you’re ill or disabled. Their only way to get people back into work is to punish unemployment with poverty.
Half a million people across the country now face an uncertain future. Every day they face challenges because of their illness. They then have the stress of trying to find work. Now they have to deal with fear of a life in poverty.
These cuts were previously rejected by the Lords, criticised by national charities and even opposed by backbench Conservative MPs. Everyone apart from the Government knows that this policy is simply inhumane.
Make no mistake the next Labour Government will cut the benefits bill by making sure everybody who works gets the living wage and by fairer rents. We will also ensure that the vulnerable and those who need help getting back to work have a decent income as well.