MP Elidh Whiteford dubs Tory pledge as ‘brutal’ to disabled

MP for Eilidh Whiteford has criticised Iain Duncan Smith's department
MP for Eilidh Whiteford has criticised Iain Duncan Smith's department

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford labelled the UK Government’s plan to cut welfare benefit recipients as ‘brutal’.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have proposed plans to reduce the number of people receiving Employment and Support Allowances (ESA) by one million.

That is a 43% drop in the number of claimants and could, says the North East MP, require cuts to support for the most severely disabled.

The ESA is a benefit for people who are unable to work due to illness or disability.

Dr Whiteford, who is the SNP’s Westminster Spokesperson for Social Justice, Work and Pensions, blasted the proposals.

“These new figures represent the brutal reality of the Tories’ ideological cuts agenda,” she said.

“The arbitrary figure of taking one million people out of ESA takes no account of actual ability to work.

“The DWP should scrap these plans immediately, and institute a fairer system that supports people into employment rather than penalising them,” she added.

As of February 2015, over 2 million people claim ESA in Great Britain.

The DWP defended their policy, saying they are taking care those unable to work, while encouraging those that can into employment.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Disabled people want to lead independent lives and pursue the same career opportunities as everybody else.

“Our ambition to halve the disability employment gap and support one million more into work is driven by this recognition.

“We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in society and continue to spend more than £50 billion every year on disabled people and their services.”