Even Conservative MPs are speaking out over George Osborne's disability cuts

Gabriel Samuels@gabs_samuels
Thursday 17 March 2016 12:00
news

Even before he took to the famous old stand for Wednesday’s Budget, George Osborne was facing the ire of as many as 20 of his own side over cuts to disability benefits.

It’s believed that the group of Tory MPs, thought to include Andrew Percy as ringleader, wrote a stern letter to the chancellor asking him to think again about cuts to personal independence payments (PIPs).

Percy, speaking to indy100 on Thursday, said:

The proposed changes to Personal Independence Payments are not something I can support.

They send the wrong, and wholly unjustified, message that disabled benefits are bearing the brunt of reductions, when in fact the total bill for disability benefits is actually rising.

Another of the MPs involved told ITV News that "scores" more backbenchers were concerned and argued that Osborne should have raised fuel duty instead.

This year’s Budget struck a damaging blow for Britain’s disabled population, cutting PIPs (Personal Independence Payments) - worth nearly £3,000 annually - for over 200,000 claimants.

'Morally reprehensible'

PIPs provide aid to those who need help with basic tasks like going to the toilet and getting dressed.

After shadow chancellor John McDonnell called the changes “morally reprehensible”, disability rights campaigners expressed their anguish at the impact the cuts would have.

The Conversative Disability Group went as far as packing in their website altogether in protest, saying:

This website is temporarily closed owing to Disability Cuts.

The owner of the hosting package Graeme Ellis has resigned over disability cuts from the group and will no longer develop or host this site.

Such is the outcry, it’s possible that the Tory MPs involved could be planning another rebellion against Osborne, following similar backlashes over tax credits and Sunday trading hours over the past year.

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