MPs have passed Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget after plans to cut Personal Independent Payment (PIP) were scrapped. The vote came after days of highly charged debate on the Budget which was overshadowed by the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith, the former Work and Pensions Secretary over the cuts.
Ahead of the vote, Mr Osborne defended his handling of the economy, but told MPs that mistakes were made and that he was ready to listen and learn.
The Chancellor said: “We have no further plans to make welfare savings beyond the very substantial savings legislated for by Parliament two weeks ago, which we will now focus on implementing.
“We are proud that this Government are providing more support to the most disabled people. It was very clear that while the reforms proposed to Personal Independence Payments two weeks ago drew on the work of an independent review, they did not command support. We have listened, and they will not go ahead.”
Campaigners and charities had criticised plans to cut PIP with some saying they would make it harder for disabled people to work, take part in family life and take part in the communities they live in.
In reassurance to MPs, the Chancellor said the government would continue providing more support for disabled people by raising the PIP budget. He added that the Government would continue to listen, consult widely and build a system of disability support that works much better with health and social services.
Not proceeding with PIP changes means that the spending on people living with disabilities will be just over £1 billion a year higher by the end of the decade than was set out in the budget.
Turn2us Chief Executive Simon Hopkins commented: “It has been a very confusing and worrying time for many people living with disabilities for whom PIP is such a vital lifeline. We therefore welcome the news that the cuts have been cancelled as well as the news that there are no further planned cuts. When you are struggling to make ends meet, having certainty about your income is absolutely vital.
“We also welcome the pledge from government to have further conversations with people living with disabilities, charities and campaigners. It is absolutely vital that away from the politics the charity sector can continue to work with the government to provide practical support to those that need it. I have written to the new Secretary of State to reaffirm Turn2us' commitment to working across sectors to raise awareness and to make the system as navigable as possible.
“Although the changes to PIP aren’t going ahead, there are still a number of benefit changes taking place from April. Anyone who is concerned about how they might be affected can find out more information on our website, and see if they might be eligible for any further help through our Benefits Calculator and Grants Search.”
If you have an illness or disability, the ‘Ill, Injured or Disabled' section of our website has useful information on the benefits, grants and other forms of support that may be available to you.
If you are struggling financially, you can use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal circumstances and needs.
The Your Situation section on our website contains information resources on benefits and grants and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find face-to-face advice in your local area.
Source: Hansard – Oral Answers to Questions 22 March 2015