I’d like to pass on a request from Sue Marsh to consider contacting Liberal Democrat peers if you are concerned by the impact of one aspect of the Goverment’s welfare reforms on the sick and disabled. This is the proposal that the contributory employment support allowance (ESA) will be time-limited to one year for people deemed capable of returning to employment.
Please, write today. Then write again. Pick another peer and then another and keep writing until after Xmas.Very early in the New Year, Lords will vote on this issue for the final time. It is only this vote now that stands between time limiting ESA becoming policy.…The welfare reform bill is almost law now. We don’t have very many opportunities to make a difference. Let’s make a difference over this.
update. To clarify, people are identified as being EITHER incapable of work OR possibly capable of work in some context or at some time. Then, at the end of the year, if they are in the latter group they may be taken off this benefit without further assessment. Here’s Sue Marsh summarising the new arrangements.
Just to be clear, this means that if you have worked and paid national insurance contributions you will face an assessment. If that assessment finds that you are indeed unwell, but may be able to do some work at some point, you will only qualify for support for a year.
At the end of that year, no matter how ill you remain, if you have a partner who earns just £7,500 or more, or limited savings, you will lose all ESA. All of it.