Former health minister has “serious concerns” about Osborne disability cuts

Dr Dan Poulter MP in the House of Commons Chamber

Dr Dan Poulter MP in the House of Commons Chamber - Credit: Archant

Former health minister Dan Poulter has joined a chorus of Conservative voices raising concerns about cuts to disability benefits.

The Suffolk MP - who works part-time as a doctor - said he would be raising the issue with government ministers.

Dr Poulter has spoken out as ministers faced pressure from Tory backbenchers to perform a u-turn on the plans.

He said: 'As both a doctor and as an MP I have serious concerns over these proposals and their potential impact on a vulnerable group of people. I shall be raising my concerns directly with government ministers.'

Colchester MP Will Quince, who only joined the House of Commons last year, said he would not be voting for the proposed changes to Personal Independence Payments

'There is an issue with how aids and appliances are being counted towards entitlement to Personal Independence Payments in light of the recent court rulings which said that chairs and beds counted as walking aids. I would like to see the government have another go at addressing this issue.

'My concern is that this isn't just tackling the problems arising from the court rulings – it is affecting every applicant. The Government should look again at these proposals,' he said.

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Labour will force a Commons vote on proposals for a £1.3 billion-a-year cut in disability benefits which could lead to a humiliating defeat if concerned Tories join with Jeremy Corbyn's party in blocking what the Labour leader called the 'appalling' plan to impose tighter restrictions on the personal independence payment (PIP).

The government, which is sitting on a slim majority, cannot count on the support of the UK Independence Party's only MP Douglas Carswell who said he would not be supporting the government over its plans. 'Osborne has got it wrong,' he said.

Mr Corbyn said 200,000 of the 640,000 hit by the changes would lose out altogether as a result of the Government's plan to 'arbitrarily' make the cuts.

In an effort to prevent a revolt which could wipe out the Government's slender Commons majority, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith wrote to Tory MPs to insist that consultations were continuing, while Cabinet colleague Nicky Morgan said the proposed cut was merely a 'suggestion'.

But Mr Corbyn told BBC Radio 5 Live the Government was planning to take £4 billion out of the benefit over the course of the Parliament at the same time that George Osborne's Budget was 'giving tax relief to the biggest companies in cutting corporation tax'.

'It is utterly appalling what they are proposing,' he said. 'We will be forcing a vote in Parliament on this. I hope and believe all opposition parties will join with us in that.

'I believe a number of Conservative MPs are so upset about this they too will vote against the Government.'

Conservative backbencher Andrew Percy, who has organised a letter to the Chancellor calling for a rethink, warned that the Government would be defeated in the Commons if it tried to push the changes through.

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