I’m becoming somewhat worried that some lefties seem to be quietly sympathetic towards IDS. This letter, sent out by him to fellow Tory MP’s one whole day after the budget, should put paid to any illusions that he is some kind of ‘caring Conservative’ or ‘man of principle’:
Illustration: Steve Bell
Iain Duncan Smith signed this ‘Dear Colleague’ letter – the term for correspondence sent to all Tory MPs – on Thursday. It was 24 hours after George Osborne’s Budget, and the day when the Chancellor was going on the airwaves to defend his measures.
IDS makes no mention of his opposition to the disability cuts, which he would later cite as the reason for his resignation, bar an ambiguous line pledging to ‘take this response forward’.
On a second page, reproduced below, IDS explains changes to the Personal Independence Payment, with the paragraphs we have highlighted showing his defence of the shake-up.
One of his arguments is that the benefit, intended to help people who struggle to use the toilet or get dressed, was being used for the unnecessary purchase of ‘items like beds and chairs that people have already’.
Why we are changing the Personal Independence Payment
- Our welfare reforms have helped more disabled people back into work so that they have the security of a job.
- And as we reform welfare, we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society and targeting the extra support we are providing for disabled people on those who need it most.
- We introduced the Personal Independence Payment to help meet the extra costs that someone with a disability faces.
- We introduced the Personal Independence Payment to help meet theextra costs that someone with a disability faces.
- Recent legal judgements have broadened the scope of what is considered an ‘aid and appliance’ to include items like beds and chairs that people have in their homes already.
- The number of people who qualify for PIP solely due to aids and appliances –which in many cases are provided by the NHS or local authorities – has tripled in 18 months.
- Yet in 96% of these cases reviewed by health professionals, they found that the likely on-going extra costs of daily living due to their disability was low or even zero.
- And in his independent review Paul Gray recommended that ‘the Department should review how aids and appliances are taken into account in PIP assessments against original policy intent’.
- That’s why last year we brought forward a consultation to explore how best to take account of aids and appliances and help disabled people meet the extra costs of their disability.
- We have carefully considered the responses and are continuing to talk to disability groups and colleagues about the best way to do this before bringing forward legislation.
- No one currently on PIP will see any change until their next review.
- We are also providing support for disabled people through the mobility component of PIP, Employment and Support Allowance, local welfare provision, support through the NHS, adult social care, Access to Work and the Disabled Facilities Grant.
- Facts on disability and Personal Independence Payment spending
- Personal Independence Payment spending will rise in every year of this Parliament in real terms.
- This year we are spending around£50 billion on support for sick and disabled people, more than the entire £34 billion Defence budget this year.
- We are spending more in real terms supporting disabled people in every year ofthis Parliament than the £42.6 billion Labourwas spending in 2010.