The new DWP secretary, Stephen Crabb, has announced this week that he plans on cutting MORE of the disability benefit. He noted that the cuts will be in a bid to cut spending on benefits altogether, and that he expects more than a £12b cut set out in the Conservative Manifesto last year. In conjunction with this, he said that he plans on restructuring the welfare system, and wants to “re-frame” the discussion on disability and disability reform.
This comes just two months after he said he had no plans to change welfare, other than the cuts put forward by the Tories. Crabb replaced Iain Duncan Smith as the DWP secretary earlier this year. Smith is said to agree with the changes put forward by Crabb, however members of the public are urging him to take back the reigns to the DWP, in the hope he can turn around the cuts which could see people less off each week.
Crabb has already abolished the £320m Independent Living Fund, which is used by 18 000 UK residents. He revealed that the Fund would be given to local councils to have responsibility of, and that the funding would be cut by millions each year until 2020. Crabb has also made cuts to Employment and Support Allowance, which will give those on the benefit £30 less each week, as well as pensions of women born in the 1950’s. Owen Smith, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pension’s secretary, believes that the Government should offer more “clarity” on how it plans to support disabled people who are going into, or leaving, work.
The cuts will be taking place in April 2017, and the extent of the cuts put forward by Crabb will apparently be made clear at the end of the year, when he releases a green paper outlining the intentions of change he wants to make. He aims to make smart decisions towards welfare, and hopes to secure the support of major disability charities.