Budget 2016: George Osborne 'takes £4.4bn from disabled people to fund tax breaks for rich'

The savings from payments to disabled claimants will escalate over the course of this Parliament

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 16 March 2016 16:48 GMT
Corbyn asks about disability ESA cuts

George Osborne's proposed cuts to disability benefits could see the government claw back £4.4 billion from people who are too ill to seek full employment - much more than charities previously thought.

The figures laid out in the Budget on Wednesday suggest savings from the controversial cuts could rise to £1.28 billion a year by 2020/21.

Putting together the numbers for cuts to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for 640,000 disabled people, the Mirror calculated that the total saved would be £4.375 billion over the course of this Parliament.

In his Budget, Mr Osborne warned of tough cuts in order to weather the "storm" of global economic uncertainty in future.

But he found the money to increase the highest 40p tax band by £2,500, offering savings to anyone on a salary greater than £42,500.

He also found the money to freeze duty on beer and cider - a highly popular move among Conservative backbenchers.

In his rebuttal, Jeremy Corbyn criticised a Budget that showed the Chancellor had "failed" to balance the books of Britain's finances.

He said: "The price of failure is being borne by some of the most vulnerable within our society - the disabled being robbed of up to £150 a week, these aren't the actions of a responsible statesperson, they are the actions of a cruel and callous Government that sides with the wrong people and punishes the most vulnerable and poorest within our society."

Speaking to the Mirror, Labour's Owen Smith described Mr Osborne's surprise sugar tax as a "dead cat" rather than a rabbit out of a hat.

"Politics is all about priorities and the Tories have nailed theirs to the doors of parliament today," he said.

"The Chancellor confirmed their plans to take £4.5bn from disabled people, including funds that help people find work, as well as support for those who need help to use the toilet or get dressed.

"It’s a shameful way to govern and even with such brutal cuts the Tories are failing by their own measure on debt and borrowing, as they can’t get the economy growing properly."

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