News that government cuts to disability benefits for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) will cost more than it will save shows that we have reached peak Tory after almost ten years of Conservative rule.
Proving that they’re a party who are happy to cut off their nose to spite their face research by the MS Society found cuts to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) planned over the next three years could end up costing the taxpayer almost £10 million in increased spending in other areas.
It is estimated that around 16,600 MS sufferers will lose out on PIP support because of the government’s 20-metre rule – which bans anyone who can “safely” walk 20 metres from receiving the higher rate of mobility support.
Without the higher rate, people are stripped of their Motability vehicles and often left trapped in their homes and unable to work, causing their health to deteriorate, the charity said.
It is a truly sad state of affairs that we are being governed by a party that feels the need to cut for cut’s sake. In their mind reducing benefit payments equate to good housekeeping, but as Heather Stewart pointed out in this article in 2015, austerity is dogmatic, risky and unjust.
Nor has it made the sort of savings it was set out to return. The Institute for Fiscal Studies research recently found years of austerity have left UK with the same level of public spending as it had ten years ago and have left the NHS, schools and prisons in a “fragile state”.
Few need reminding of the UN rapporteur’s findings when he visited last year on a “extreme poverty and human rights” ticket. He found that after years of progress, poverty is rising again, with child poverty predicted to rise 7 per cent between 2015 and 2022, homelessness is up 60 per cent since 2010, and food banks rapidly multiplying.
“In the fifth richest country in the world, this is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one,” Alston said. But pertinently, he added that while cuts have been sold as cost-saving means, they is actually a “clearly ideological” motivation behind them. As I wrote here, poverty isn’t a given, it’s a political choice. Perhaps it’s time we choose to change.