Letter: The benefits of the welfare Bill

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The Independent Online
YOUR ARTICLE "Something's happened to Labour's soul" (7 November) was almost as unbalanced as your editorial (7 November). I write as one of the eight out of every nine Labour MPs who are generally happy with the Government's progress.

Where did you get the idea that poor disabled people would suffer from the Welfare Reform Bill, as your editorial cartoon suggests? No existing claimant of any disability benefit will be worse off. No future claimants of DLA and other disability benefits will see their entitlement to Incapacity Benefit reduced. Nor will those still at work but suffering from a disability that will get worse with time. All future IB claimants, should they leave IB for some reason, will find it easier to return to it should the need arise.

And no future IB claimant with an income of under pounds 150 a week from IB plus occupational pension will notice any difference either, and they will still be receiving this income replacement benefit up to the point at which their income is nearly pounds 300.

When you compare these figures with the guaranteed incomes that society pays to disabled people in work, the national minimum wage, the working families tax credit and the pensioners' minimum income guarantee, you will find that this small group of future IB claimants will have the highest guaranteed income levels from the state of any group in society, even after the Bill has gone through.


House of Commons, London SW1