moneyAfter a review by the House of Lords found a proposed cut of £30 a week to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will directly contradict the Government’s desire to get more disabled people into work, hundreds of people with disabilities have met with their MPs to discuss welfare reform.

The mass lobby was organised by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), which is campaigning for changes to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

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Ismail Kaji, who has a learning disability and is parliamentary affairs assistant at Mencap, said: "Today [13 January] we saw over 100 disabled people come to Parliament to meet with their local MP and tell them how these cuts will change their lives. Disabled people don’t always get given a strong voice, yet we are often the first people to feel the effects of Government decisions – so we must be listened to.

"Lots of disabled people aren’t in work, and if these cuts go ahead it will make it even harder for people to find work. People will lose the support they rely on and be pushed closer to poverty, further in debt and isolated from their communities. The Government now needs to take our concerns seriously and make urgent changes to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill."

The main changes the DBC wants to be made to the Bill are:
• Scrapping the proposal to cut almost £30 a week from the ESA Work Related Activity Group
• Full exemption for disabled people and their family carers from the Benefit Cap
• Full exemption for disabled people and their family carers from the benefits freeze.

A recent survey of 500 people by the DBC found that 57% of people with a disability said the amount of ESA they currently received was not enough to live on, with 28% of disabled people without enough money to eat, and more than a third (38%) unable to heat their home.

The DBC is a national coalition of more than 60 different charities and other organisations committed to working towards a fair benefits system, including Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability and the National Autistic Society.