I firmly believe that those who suffer from MS should have employment support which works for them. My SNP colleagues and I broadly welcome the recent announcement from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the Green Paper, “Work, health and disability: improving lives”, but remain concerned that cuts are still due to take place before the Green Paper can be considered or the potential measures implemented.
My SNP colleague Neil Gray MP recently led a debate in the House of Commons urging the Chancellor to use his Autumn Statement to pause the cuts to Employment Support Allowance Work Related Activity Component and the corresponding limited capability for work component in Universal Credit until appropriate alternative measures have been considered. This motion was supported by nine political parties, and was voted through in the House of Commons.
The burden of austerity that has fallen on sick and disabled people in recent years has caused severe hardship and pushed many people further away from the workplace. It is vital that additional funding is allocated to deliver an effective system of support under these new proposals.
It is welcome that the UK Government is committed to developing a more flexible approach to work. The long-awaited Green Paper is a critical opportunity to get the system right for sick and disabled people and we will work constructively with all parties to deliver real progress for disabled people.