Able2UK News

How will a Labour Government change the disabled benefit system?

Prime minister Keir Starmer

Labour has won the general election, but what does this mean for disabled people currently receiving benefits such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment [PIP]?

In their manifesto the new government did not go into detail on how it would make changes to the benefit system, although they did specify one of their goals is to encourage disabled people into employment.

Labour wants to scrap the current assessment which decides if somebody is fit for work and slash the increasing number of Universal Credit claimants who are written off from looking for employment. 

Tom Waters, Associate Director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies said: "The number of people receiving financial support from the government for a health-related benefit has increased sharply since the pandemic and is forecast to continue growing. This is one of the big drivers of the large increase in public spending since 2019 and into the next parliament. So it is understandable that whoever is in office after the election should want to take a careful look at this."

Despite not sharing details in their manifesto on how they will tackle the benefit system, Labour has promised to study the feedback given to the proposals after the consultation period three weeks after the election on July 22nd.

The new government is debating whether to make radical changes to the work capability assessment, which decides if someone claiming Universal Credit is fit for work or is entitled to an incapacity top-up of £416 a month.

Disabled people and those with mental health conditions are being assured their benefits won’t be slashed or stopped as soon as they find a job.

The Labour manifesto states: "Too many people are out of work or not earning enough. Long waits for treatment of health conditions, particularly mental health, are contributing to the rise in economic inactivity. Labour will reform employment support so it drives growth and opportunity. Our system will be underpinned by rights and responsibilities – people who can work, should work – and there will be consequences for those who do not fulfil their obligations.

"Labour will work with local areas to create plans to support more disabled people and those with health conditions into work. We will devolve funding so local areas can shape a joined-up work, health, and skills offer for local people. We will tackle the backlog of Access to Work claims and give disabled people the confidence to start working without the fear of an immediate benefit reassessment if it does not work out. We believe the Work Capability Assessment is not working and needs to be reformed or replaced, alongside a proper plan to support disabled people to work."

Responding to The Labour Party’s election win, Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said: 

'The change in government provides a welcome and much needed opportunity to refocus and reprioritise what is important to the country.

‘The government faces significant challenges ahead, including putting social care on a surer footing, addressing the cost-of-living crisis which is disproportionately impacting disabled people, and addressing the national scandal of autistic people and people with a learning disability being detained in long-stay hospitals. 

‘Only by prioritising the provision of high-quality support for disabled people of all ages, will we have a fairer society where everyone is able to thrive.

‘We look forward to working with the new Labour government, and allies across party lines, to improve the environment within which third sector organisations work, to ensure disabled people are able to live the lives they choose.’

[ Sir Keir Starmer is the UK's first Labour prime minister since 2010 after his party's landslide general election victory. ]

Related Articles

Help support us continuing our groundbreaking work. Make a donation to help with our running costs, and support us with continuing to bring you all the latest news, reviews and accessibility reports. Become a supporter or sponsor of Able2UK today!

Able2UK Logo