7 October 2011
Baroness Williams stated that although good changes had been made to the Health Bill during the recent listening exercise, more changes were needed.
Delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference passed a motion criticising the Government over disability benefits.
Labour leader Ed Milliband MP stated in his speech that the benefit system must protect the vulnerable but support the “values of work.”
Liam Byrne MP, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, stated that Labour believes those that can work should work, and that a “lifetime on welfare” must not be allowed. He also said that the Governments work programme is wholly inadequate.
Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Margaret Curran MP confirmed that Labour would attempt to amend the Welfare Reform Bill to decrease the number of assessments disabled people had to undergo in order to claim benefits.
Catherine Mckinnell MP stated that more needed to be done for neurology. GPs needed help on commissioning the right neurological services, because they did not possess the right expertise in neurology. The Neurological Alliance wanted more noise from MPs, delegates and charities to get a fairer deal for neurology.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling MP said the Government is determined to “create an environment where works pays.” Changes to the “benefit culture” are under way, he added, highlighting efforts to review all those on Incapacity Benefit and limit the total amount of benefits paid to a single family every year.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith MP said that those looking for work will be fully supported but those unwilling to do so will lose their benefits. The “something for nothing” culture must be tackled, he added, but that as the welfare system is overhauled, people with disabilities will not be left behind.
Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller MP said disabled people unable to work will continue to receive “unconditional support” from the state but DLA needs to be “modernised.”
The impact of the Welfare Reform Bill was discussed at a fringe event, with particular relevance to the effect it will have on disabled people.
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