An image of a flag for the MS Society waving in front of Big Ben clock tower in Westminster

Over 16,500 people demand end to disability benefit cuts

Today 16,500 plus people sent a message to party leaders demanding they protect disability benefits.

We're part of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), a network of more than 80 disability charities and organisations. And today we came together with our communities to deliver an open letter to party leaders, urging them to make no more cuts to disability benefits in the next Parliament.

Rockstars, DJS, actors and athletes call for no more cuts

Signatories include Paralympians Kadeena Cox and Anne Wafula Strike, wheelchair athlete Carly Tait, BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, actor Alun Armstrong, Sky Sports commentator Tony Johnstone and The Maccabees' Felix White.

The letter has generated lots of media coverage, including articles in the Independent and Daily Mail. A letter to the editor from our Chief Executive Michelle Mitchell also appeared in the Guardian.

Standing with 13 million disabled people

There are more than 13 million disabled people in the UK. On average, they spend an extra £550 a month on costs related to their impairment or condition.

Financial support is vital for disabled people. It helps us to stay in work for longer, pay bills, spend time with friends and family and fulfil life goals. But years of welfare reform have left thousands of disabled people with benefits reduced or completely taken away.

Celia lost her Motability vehicle

Celia Johnson, who lives with MS, lost her Motability car after having her benefit downgraded last year. She said:

“I’ve fought for a long time to keep my independence with a condition like MS that’s so unpredictable. It can’t be right that with a stroke of a keyboard, they can completely mess up someone’s life. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

Why are we demanding no more cuts?

  • Tightened eligibility criteria under Personal Independence Payment (PIP) led to more than 50,000 people losing their Motability vehicles since PIP started to replace Disability Living Allowance in 2013
  • Inaccurate decisions in initial assessments resulted in as many as 65% of denied PIP claims being overturned on appeal
  • A £30 a week cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for new claimants in the Work Related Activity Group and the equivalent in Universal Credit
  • New regulations for PIP to overturn a tribunal ruling mean that 165,000 people could be denied access to the benefit
  • A flawed work capability assessment for ESA fails to properly recognise the barriers many people face in getting and staying in work.

Make welfare make sense for people with MS

Our Policy Manager Laura Wetherly says: “Today thousands of people across the UK are sending a loud and clear message to our politicians that the current welfare system doesn’t make any sense.

"Too many disabled people have been stripped of the security and stability they need to live independent lives. The next Government must make sure no further cuts are made to disability benefits so that disabled people can rely on support without the constant fear of having it taken away.”

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