Tories target carers, disabled and jobless in plan to slash welfare

“The cuts suggested by this document are brutal. ” Andy Lewis, West Somerset Labour

The scale of the Tory attack on the welfare state has been made clear, in a secret document setting out ideas for savage cuts. Labour says it shows a Conservative government would be a disaster for carers, people with disabilities and people who lose their jobs.

Tory officials asked civil servants at the Department for Work and Pensions to say how money could be saved from the welfare budget. The results make horrifying reading. Among the suggestions are :
• New restrictions on Carers Allowance. Forty per cent of those now getting help to care for family members would lose their money
• Scrapping the contributory Jobseekers Allowance which is paid to people who lose their jobs, based on their National Insurance payments
• Making people with disabilities pay tax on payments to compensate them for their mobility problems and care needs
• Regional Benefit Caps, so that more families in areas such as Somerset would have benefits taken away

Terrible human cost from cuts

Labour’s candidate for Alcombe in West Somerset, Andy Lewis, said:“The cuts suggested by this document are brutal. I know that many people in West Somerset are already struggling under the present government’s benefit squeeze. This would bring them to breaking point.”

“Perhaps the worst part of the plan is the idea of taking away Carers Allowance from nearly half of those who now receive it. These are people who get a relatively small amount each week, usually because they provide care for relatives. They should be encouraged – but the Tories would kick them in the teeth.

“Working people who lose their jobs would also suffer. The founding principle of the welfare state was that those who work hard and pay National Insurance should be entitled to help in hard times. But an estimated 300,000 people each year would lose this protection

“Taxing disability benefits would take money from people on quite low incomes who need help with mobility and personal care.”

Officially, the Tories are saying the proposals are not party policy. But they have said they intend to save £12 billion from the welfare budget. This document shows there would be a terrible human cost from cuts on anything like that scale.

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