Disabled worse off under UK benefit cap

British Pensions minister says disabled households will be worse off under government’s cap on benefit handouts.

Some British households with a disabled person are to lose out under the Tory-led government’s plans to limit annual increases in working-age benefits to 1 percent for the next three year, a Liberal Democrat minister has admitted.

British Pensions minister Steve Webb confirmed that around 3.4 million households in the UK will be £156 a year worse off on average as a result of the new rules, which keep the annual rise in benefits below the cost of living.

He said that one in three British households with a disabled person would be affected, losing out on £3 a week in 2015-16.

The disclosure comes days after British Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith claimed that the coalition government was “protecting disabled people”.

However, Webb said, “The Department [for Work and Pensions] estimates that approximately 34 per cent of households where someone describes themselves [as] disabled are affected by this Bill, with an average change of income of around -£3 a week in 2015-16 compared to uprating by the consumer prices index (CPI).”

A vote for a cap on benefit handouts was passed by majority of 56 in the Commons on January 8, despite a move by some Labour and Liberal Democrats to block it.

According to a Whitehall impact assessment published shortly before the controversial Welfare Uprating Bill debate, Britain’s poorest households would suffer the greatest loss of income following benefit changes, which are aimed at saving £3.1bn by 2016.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne also accused British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne of “cutting support for disabled people” while “giving 8,000 millionaires an average tax cut of over £107,000.”

SSM/HE