‘MS is not a lifestyle choice, Mr Osborne’
Plans by the UK Government to force disabled and ill people into work or face cuts in their benefits will affect almost 4,000 families in the Wrexham and Clwyd South area, according to Plaid Cymru research.
The ConDem government plans mean that people claiming incapacity benefit will have to undergo a new test using a points-based system to reassess whether they are fit to work. It has been estimated by the think tank Demos that the ConDem Government’s plans will see 3.6 million disabled people and carers in the UK lose about £9.2 billion by 2015. The ConDem government plans would see many people on long term sickness benefit forced into work or face having their benefits cut. Medical tests are being piloted in Burnley and Aberdeen. The tests have been criticised by disability campaigners who claim that forcing sick people into jobs could have catastrophic results.
Plaid candidate for Clwyd South Mabon ap Gwynfor said:
“These ConDem cuts show a government with complete disregard for the needs of the most vulnerable. We all know that we need to cut the deficit, but in attacking benefits for disabled people, this coalition is showing itself to be utterly heartless. We should not be surprised to see the Conservatives undertaking an ideological cut on the benefit system, but the Liberal Democrats should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
“There are nearly 2,000 people in Clwyd South who struggle now to live decent lives on their disability benefits. These could be hit hard by this. The Conservatives tell us that we are all in this together, but we in Wales know better than to believe them. This is yet just another example of them totally failing to understand the reality of people’s everyday lives.”
Marc Jones, Plaid Cymru candidate in Wrexham, said:
“The Tories have described living on benefits as a ‘lifestyle choice’. That’s very easy for the millionaires in the Cabinet to say. But in meetings locally to campaign against the cuts, we have heard from disabled people who are terrified of the implications of these cuts. One woman, who suffers from MS, spoke up bravely to say that ‘MS is not a lifestyle choice, Mr Osborne’.
“George Osborne and his millionaire chums need to realise that in places like Wrexham there are few enough jobs for the able-bodied, let alone those with illnesses and disabilities. On top of that the threat to the Remploy factory in Wrexham is yet another example of the disregard the ConDem coalition government has got towards people.”
: Advanced query/ DWP benefits/ work and pensions longitudinal study/ benefit payments – incapacity benefit/ severe disability allowance