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Peers vote to ditch disability cuts

Parkinson's UK campaigners march outside Parliament about benefit cuts

Wednesday's vote is a no

Members of the House of Lords voted on Wednesday night to scrap Government plans to cut disability benefits for people with Parkinson's who are too unwell to work.

Peers from a range of political parties voted for an amendment to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, to remove the part of the Bill that would have cut some people with Parkinson's' Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by a third, or £1500 per year.

People with Parkinson's use ESA for essentials like utility bills and food. It's designed to replace a person's income when they're too unwell to work. Any cut will hit them extremely hard.

A person with Parkinson's explains what losing this money would mean:

"This money keeps us out of debt. Ensures I can heat the house, pay my community charge and generally keep my family together."

Cuts still possible

However, there is still the possibility that the cut will return. MPs have one final opportunity to vote on the Welfare Bill in the coming weeks, so it's vitally important that they agree to leave clause 13 out of the Bill – permanently.

Parkinson's UK Policy and Campaigns Advisor Phil Reynolds, said:

"It's brilliant news for people with Parkinson's that the House of Lords has shown common sense and compassion, and blocked a naked attempt to bully people with Parkinson's into employment when they aren't physically able."

"Having Parkinson’s can leave people struggling to walk, talk and sleep. ESA is a lifeline when they can no longer work, and must be protected."

"We urge MPs to follow suit, and ensure people with Parkinson’s too ill to work can afford to eat, pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads."

Help us halt these cuts

We urgently need your help to halt these cuts for good, so please join our Campaigns Network and help us reach as many MPs as possible - www.parkinsons.org.uk/campaignsnetwork

If you have any questions about applying for ESA, please call our helpline on 0808 800 0303. Our Employment and Support Allowance information sheet can also provide you with more information.

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