Ministers invoked financial privilege last Tuesday night to prevent a peers’ bid to block the cut to employment and support allowance (ESA).The government was twice defeated in the House of Lords over a £30 a week cut to ESA for certain claimants.But it is set to go ahead after peers deferred to the elected Commons. Ministers claimed "financial privilege" to assert the Commons' right to have the final say on budgetary measures.
The cuts in weekly support from £103 to £73, contained in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, will apply to new ESA claimants in the work-related activity group, bringing the rate into line with Jobseeker's Allowance.
Paralympic gold medallist Baroness Grey-Thompson said she was disappointed such a "dreadful and punitive" part of the bill - which has been opposed by more than 30 charities - was going ahead.
"It may be seen as a victory in terms of voting numbers in the Commons but we can't forget there are many disabled people who will lose out," the crossbench peer said.
Patrick Harrington of Solidarity commented: "This is a mean, vindictive measure. There is no evidence that it will lead to significant numbers of disabled people being able to find work. It will simply punish those who can't.
Disability rights campaigners Scope said the changes would have a "harmful impact" on half a million people.