Shadow Employment Minister, Stephen Timms today backed the attack of Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, on the Coalition’s Welfare Reform Bill.

At Prime Minister’s Questions today the Labour Leader demanded to know why the Government was taking away up to £94 per week from 7,000 people with cancer.  The Prime Minister asserted repeatedly that no such thing was happening, and that terminally ill cancer patients would not see a loss. 

Mr Timms said: “The Prime Minister was wrong to deny the effects of his policy.  People can currently receive Contributory Employment and Support Allowance if they have worked hard and paid in, and subsequently fall ill. The Government will limit this to only one year for people in the Work Related Activity Group – including many people who are suffering from cancer, receiving oral chemotherapy, or in the middle of recovery.” 

“The Tory-led Coalition has no basis in evidence for this change. The majority of people needing Contributory ESA do not find a job within 12 months. The Minister for Employment told us specifically in committee that ‘It is not about a decision that 12 months is an appropriate time for recovery’. The Government’s impact assessment assumes that 90% of people receiving contributory ESA need it for more than a year.”

“This policy will take money away from cancer patients who have paid in all their lives and are half way through their treatment.  It is unsupportable.”

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AuthorStephen Timms