During a Backbench debate on Welfare Reform, Dame Anne Begg MP called on the government to launch a cumulative impact assessment on their reforms to the welfare system which are unfairly targeting people with disabilities. The Back Bench Committee allocated time for this debate after a WOW petition was signed by over 100,000 people.
As Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Dame Anne has continually called for the government to carry out a full impact assessment of welfare reform to show the effect they are having on people with disabilities.
Dame Anne said
“Although the Government states it isn’t picking on disabled people or people with health problems, their policies are impacting that group the hardest
“When you look at the changes they’ve made to the welfare system – Work Capability Assessments, Employment Support Allowance and the new Personal Independence Payments, you can see who they are aimed at.
“The government has reformed almost every benefit in the welfare system. The migration of disabled people to Employment Support Allowance from Incapacity benefit[…] the ATOS Work Capability Assessment[…] the introduction of new Personal Independence Payments[…] reforms to Housing Benefit and Housing Allowance[…] are hitting the disabled and those with health problems the hardest.”
After the debate Dame Anne said
“I have been calling for years for a full impact assessment of welfare reform. The government has continuously refused. Either the government don’t want to know what the impact of welfare reforms have been or they don’t want us to know. Surely good policy making involves reviewing the effectiveness and impact of decisions you have made?”