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Monday, 30 October 2017

Westminster welfare reforms 'could see 30,000 disabled Scots lose benefits'

Written by The Press Association

About 30,000 disabled people in Scotland could lose entitlement to disability benefits as a result of UK Government welfare reforms, according to a new report.

The Scottish Government research looked at the impact of welfare policies affecting disabled people, including the replacement of disability living allowance (DLA) for working-age people with the personal independence payment (PIP).

The report found while 45% of those being re-assessed for the new benefit are expected to see their award increase, 44% will initially have their payment cut or removed completely.

It estimated around 30,000 disabled people could lose their entitlement to non means-tested disability benefits, with those worst affected losing benefits worth more than £7,000 a year if disallowed for PIP.

The report also said that between 7,000 and 10,000 disabled people a year could be affected by the removal of the work-related activity component of employment support allowance (ESA).

Those affected could lose up to £29 a week every year until the policy is fully rolled out, it concluded.

Social security minister Jeane Freeman said: "The Scottish Government is committed to full equality and human rights for disabled people, and we have published an ambitious delivery plan to help us achieve this.

"It is therefore with dismay that we see in this report the impact of the UK Government's unrelenting strive for austerity.

"Like Universal Credit, these cuts are failing the very people they are designed to support. They are causing unnecessary hardship and suffering to people across the country.

"The UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities issued a report earlier this year which is damning of the UK Government and rightly highlights the changes urgently needed to halt the damage they are causing.

"That is why I've written to Penny Mordaunt, the minister for disabled people, calling on them to take action.

"The UK Government must listen to the cacophony of voices and growing evidence telling them about the damage their policies are causing and stop their assault on disabled people."

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