Saffron Walden and South Cambs MPs explain votes over disability cuts

Sir Alan Haselhurst, Conservative MP for Saffron Walden.

Sir Alan Haselhurst, Conservative MP for Saffron Walden. - Credit: Archant

Sir Alan Haselhurst has pledged to help any of his disabled constituents hit by cuts to their benefits.

Heidi Allen

Heidi Allen - Credit: Archant

The Conservative MP for Saffron Walden last week voted in favour of the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill which includes the reduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from £103 a week to £73.

He said: “If anyone finds themselves worse off and they can show they are incapable of work, I will fight for them vigorously.

“The money has been moved so that instead of just giving people cash and leaving them to stew, we will spend it positivity to see what work they can do.

“In the past, it was found that blind people were very good at working switchboards.”

He added that the Government’s position on adjusting welfare benefits “had strong support on the doorstep” during last year’s general election.

Heidi Allen, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, voted against the cuts. Mrs Allen wanted the Government to accept a Lords’ amendment asking the Government to assess the impact of the cuts on future claimants’ physical and mental health, their finances and their ability to return to work.

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The Government declined, but announced three measures to soften the blow of the cuts – ensuring people with progressive conditions knew they could be reassessed, removing the limit of one year when people receiving ESA could do “permitted work” without losing their benefit and £15million more for the Flexible Support Fund.

Mrs Allen said: “While it is welcome that the Government acknowledges the impact the proposed cuts would have, these measures will do little to alleviate their detrimental effects. This is why I voted against the Government in support of the Lords’ amendment.”

She added: “The clauses

are now back in the House of Lords. Once the bill returns

to the Commons, I will continue to fight for what I believe is right.”