Little did Nia Griffith MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, and Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Shadow Employment Minister know when they met representatives of housing associations and third sector organisations last Friday, that later that same day Iain Duncan Smith would resign over yet more cuts being piled onto disabled people.
The Labour MPs were meeting the groups, including the Citizens Advice Bureau and charities to hear about the impact that the Conservative Government’s cuts to social security entitlements is having on people in communities across Wales, and to discuss how best to fight these cuts politically, and seek to mitigate the impact on people where possible.
According to a House of Commons paper, social security payments or benefits have always been at the lower end of what is actually needed, but they have always, even under Margaret Thatcher’s Government, been uprated with inflation. It is therefore shocking but not surprising to hear that the cumulative effect of the bedroom tax and other cuts is causing families to go into serious debts for basic bills.
Representatives of the Merthyr Tydfil Dialysis Group also explained that a patient diagnosed with kidney failure has more than enough health problems and worry to cope with, without the devastating effects of having to wait months for their Personal Independence Payments to come through.
Commenting later on Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation, Nia said, “It is clear from his resignation letter that these cuts are more about the Chancellor’s self-imposed targets and political ambitions than the economy of the UK or any consideration for disabled people. How can we believe the new DWP Secretary Stephen Crabb who was telling us there would be no more welfare cuts when, even before he finished speaking, his Government colleagues corrected him and said that the Government was not ruling out further cuts? We on the Labour benches will be watching very carefully, and opposing any renewed attempt by this Conservative Government to hit the disabled.”