Cancel latest tax cuts for the wealthy to protect disability benefits, Jeremy Corbyn says

George Osborne's Budget cut taxes for corporations and asset holders - while slashing benefits for the disabled

The Government should cancel its latest reductions in tax for wealthier people to protect disability benefits from cuts, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The Government today signaled a U-turn on cuts to the Personal Independence Payment disability benefit – which would have seen 370,000 disabled people lose an average of £3,500 a year, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The Conservative party was plunged into a row over the benefits after Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith resigned on Friday night – warning that his party was balancing the books on the backs of Britain’s most vulnerable people.

Former Tory leader Michael Howard hinted this morning that cuts could be made elsewhere in the social security budget

“I would ask people to remember the promises we made in our manifesto which have to be kept,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“There was a promise in our manifesto to bring welfare spending under control and it’s very important for the future viability of our economy that welfare spending is brought under control.” 

Labour leader Mr Corbyn however said that corporation tax and capital gains tax cuts also included in the same Budget should be shelved in order to protect the disabled.

Iain Duncan Smith's resignation - How it happened

The PIP cuts confirmed by the Chancellor in his Budget would have raised £4.4 billion by 2020, by stripping people who use specially adapted appliances of payments.

“Roughly speaking the tax cuts they proposed in corporation tax and capital gains tax would pay for that so I suggest they just don’t go ahead with those tax cuts at the top end of the scale,” Mr Corbyn told the BBC.

“Instead, ensure that as a society we fully support people with disabilities to live independently. That, surely, is at the heart of the whole issue and the public outrage on this is palpable.”

Michael Howard indicated other welfare cuts would be made

“I think we should start on a principle that an austerity budget which has been put forward should not be paid for by those with disabilities but should be paid for by general taxation, but particularly by corporate taxation.” 

The Labour leader said on Friday he would force a vote on the cuts in the House of Commons, before the Government signalled their cancellation.

Though the Government says the cuts will help reduce the deficit, it has spent a similar amount on the tax cuts, which mainly go to wealthier people wealthier people.

The PIP cuts were the most substantial spending cut in the Budget, which was unveiled on Wednesday.

DWP ministers also said the PIP benefit – which was introduced under the Coalition government, was not working properly.

The PIP cuts follow sharp cuts to disabled people claiming the Employment and Support Allowance, another disability benefit.

That cut, passed earlier this month, stripped people in the so-called work related activity group section of the payment of around £30 a week.

The Conservatives pledged to make a further £20 billion of welfare cuts in their general election manifesto, in order to meet a self-imposed spending target.