The Tory Government is planning to slash financial support to thousands of disabled people in Lewisham at the very same time as they give a tax cut to the wealthiest.
In Lewisham an estimated 2,356 people with disabilities and long-term health conditions receive Personal Independence Payment (DLA), a benefit to help them cover additional costs and maintain independence. Many have already lost out as part of the change from the Disability Living Allowance to PIP.
Those affected would lose an average of £3,500 a year, equivalent to over £8 million being taken from some of the most vulnerable people in Lewisham. Many PIP claimants have already suffered a cut with the forced move from DLA. And disabled people have been disproportionately hit by the Government's hated bedroom tax. At the same time, the Government are handing a tax cut to the richest in society by slashing reducing Capital Gains Tax.
Ian Duncan Smith, the Minister responsible for social security resigned in protest at the cuts to PIP, calling them 'a compromise too far' describing them as 'not defensible in the way they were placed within a Budget that benefits higher earning taxpayers.' He also described the Conservative cuts plans as 'self-imposed restraints' that are 'perceived as distinctly political rather than in the national economic interest.'
Labour are calling on the Government to scrap the cut to PIP. You can sign our petition here.
Councillor Pat Raven said; "many disabled people will lose out on this forced migration from DLA to PIP. Those with learning disabilities and mental health conditions will be hit the hardest due to the new face to face assessment which many just cannot cope with."
Councillor Joe Dromey, Cabinet Member for Policy and Performance said; "the thousands of PIP recipients in Lewisham will be deeply concerned by the Government's plans. The Tories claim that 'we are all in this together'. Yet they slash benefits for disabled people at the same time as handing out tax cuts to the richest. They slash funding for councils in more deprived areas whilst they protect their own. Labour are calling on the Government to think again. They cannot make the most vulnerable suffer for their economic incompetence and ideological obsession with austerity."