Alex Cunningham MP attacks Coalition over welfare reform announcement

Government plans to cut incapacity benefit could will frighten many thousands across the country who depend on these payments as a vital source of income.

Local MP Alex Cunningham was in the House of Commons today to listen to the Coalition’s plans for welfare reform.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, announced plans to trial a points based ‘Work Capability Assessment’ for those who claim Incapacity Benefit. Trials will take place in Burnley and Aberdeen from today with the intention of rolling the assessment out across the country from April 2011.

The Coalition hopes that by transferring those who it deems able to work to Jobseekers Allowance, it will be able to save up to £4 billion a year.

Reacting to the announcement, Alex said:

“We all agree that savings must be made but the Coalition must be very careful not to penalise those who genuinely are unable to work. Labour MPs will be watching very closely to ensure this new ‘Work Capability Assessment’ does not unfairly penalise vulnerable people who cannot work.”

In his speech to Conservative Conference last week the Prime Minister pledged he will always look after the sick, the vulnerable and the elderly. My concern is that the Government’s determination to cut the deficit as soon as possible will make it inevitable that these groups will lose out.”