MP Gavin Newlands has described further cuts to disability benefits as “completely unacceptable” and called for an assurance from the UK government that disabled people will not be left with less financial support as a result of the proposals.
The UK government has announced emergency legislation to change PIPs, which replaced Disability Living Allowance, and overturn two tribunal rulings last year which it claims would have added £3.7bn to the benefits bill by 2023. The support is designed to help people cope with the extra costs of living with ill health or disability.
Tory MP and head of the Number 10 Policy Unit George Freeman, said the changes would ensure that benefits went to people who are “really disabled” rather than people “who suffer from anxiety”. His comments have drawn criticism from opposition MPs and disability organisations.
Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:
“For a Tory MP and one of Theresa May’s most senior advisers to suggest that people with a mental health disability are not “really disabled” is completely unacceptable and wrong – his words also highlight this Tory government’s total lack of understanding or compassion when it comes to providing for those who are less fortunate than others.
“The Tories said there would be no further cuts to disability support during this parliament but once again they have shown that the price of their failed austerity project is to be borne by those who can least able to bear it.
“The UK government must urgently clarify what these new proposals will mean for people who currently receive PIPs and give an assurance that any changes will not result in a reduction in financial support as the Tories promised.
“I have signed the “prayer” motion laid in the House of Commons to formally object to this legislation and I call on all MPs to unite in opposition against these changes by adding their signature too.”