The government has announced a U-turn on the proposed cuts to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in the 2016 budget. In the budget set forth by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, cuts of £4.4 billion to PIP would have been made by 2020. This follows Ian Duncan Smiths resignation from the Cabinet regarding the cuts. Duncan-Smith stated that this budget is “deeply unfair” and “drifting”.
Personal Independence Payment works on a point based system as to how much an individual is entitled too. The amounts available vary from approximately £21.80 to £139.75 a week depending on the individual’s circumstances and the amount of points scored on assessment. What Osbourne intended to do was to cut the amount of points someone would gain from events such as not being able to dress themselves which would mean people fall under the needed points to be entitled to PIP. Or in other cases those who are seriously disabled and fall under the higher band of PIP may be dropped down to drastically lower amounts. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that over 370,000 disabled and sick people would lose an average of £3,500 a year.
However this budget has faced immense backlash from MP’s of all parties alongside various disability charities such as DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts). When the government attempted to justify the cuts, the report used was based on evidence which is anecdotal and untested.
Osbourne, pressed by both Labour and SNP MP’s, still refuses to apologise for these events. Instead he simply acknowledges he made a mistake. Surely the government, most notably Osbourne, should issue an apology for the distress caused to many disabled and sick people across the country?
With the events of this U-turn alongside both the resignation of Ian Duncan Smith from the Cabinet due to these events, and the divide in the Conservatives due to the EU, it is not a good time for the Conservatives.
Yet we are left with the question of what will happen with the £4.4 billion black hole that this U-turn has left in Osbourne’s 2016 budget.