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Feb 1st, 2016

Employment Support Allowance – The Lords listened to us!

By Kahra Wayland-Larty

“Fairness and compassion has prevailed.” Helen, 38 Degrees member

“I’m so very grateful to everyone who stood against these proposals. Thank you so much.” Tanya, 38 Degrees member

It’s good news: 38 Degrees members were listened to on harsh cuts to welfare. As the House of Lords weighed up cutting support for people who face huge barriers to work due to illness or disability, our 100,000-strong petition was used as proof of the public’s outrage at this unfair proposal. That’s 100,000 of us, standing strong alongside disabled people – and disability, mental health and cancer charities – to protect this lifeline. And it worked – the Lords voted to protect support for those of us who are living with a disability or health condition. Thank you for being part of it.

But the fight to save this essential support is not over. Iain Duncan Smith, the Minister for Work and Pensions, is deciding right now whether to accept Wednesday’s vote as final, or try and reverse it by getting MPs to vote on it.

So let’s strike while the iron’s hot: If enough of us email our MPs now and ask them to speak to Iain Duncan Smith, they could convince him to accept the Lords‘ vote. Imagine hundreds of his colleagues telling him not to go ahead with this cut, it’d be impossible for him to ignore. Can you email your MP now and ask them to leave ESA alone?

If this cut goes ahead, hundreds of thousands of people – disabled people, people with mental illness, cancer patients – could be pushed into poverty. This money is essential to cover the cost of prolonged unemployment, due to ill health or disability: it pays for taxis home from chemotherapy, extra prescription charges, or central heating bills. [2]

And this lifeline is still at risk. MPs could choose to fight this decision by the Lords – or they can accept it. Last week we came together at amazing speed – we need to keep that momentum; to show MPs that opposition is still snowballing and they need to protect ESA.

If enough of us email our MPs now, they’ll see the emails start to roll in and be left in no doubt – we want them to do the right thing and speak out to protect ESA.

On hearing Wednesday’s good news, 38 Degrees member Dougie said, “Yay! Power to the people and thank you so much. It’s just goes to show how we must not give up, ever!!”

Let’s make sure the Lords decision is not overturned by MPs – please get in touch with your MP now. It only takes a couple of minutes, and but the impact could be enormous.


When the Lords were considering how to vote, the speed that 38 Degrees members came together proved opposition to this cut was snowballing. Lord Low pointed out in the debate, “A 38 Degrees petition against the cuts was started about a week ago and at the last count had already attracted nearly 100,000 signatures.” Let’s show MPs we can act this fast again; please email yours now: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/email-mp-esa


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