The Green Party is calling on the Government to urgently look at all cuts affecting sick and disabled people after a landmark petition passed 100,000 signatures at the weekend, which should trigger a Parliamentary debate.

The War on Welfare (WOW) Petition to the Department for Work and Pensions calls for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick and disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions.

The Government has already ignored calls from the medical profession to scrap the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) used to decide whether someone can receive Employment Support Allowance (ESA). Disability charities have called for major change after finding that 45% of people who put in a claim for ESA, and had a degenerative illness, were placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) being told they would recover. A Freedom of Information Request has revealed that over 1,100 people died [1] within a few months of being placed in the same group for claimants who the DWP consider will be capable of work at some time in the future. [4]

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:

"The coalition's cruel assault on welfare is hurting some of the most vulnerable in our society. People have made clear that they've had enough. The strength of feeling is obvious. It's time for a parliamentary debate, and I'll be doing everything I can to make it happen."

Green Party LogoGreen Party Work and Pensions spokesperson Jonathan Bartley, who is also a carer, said:

"It is a scandal that for the people most affected by welfare changes, sick and disabled people and carers, no cumulative impact assessment was carried out. The Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith had no knowledge or understanding of how lives would be turned upside down. The devastating impact is now becoming clear and a full assessment must be made.

"The calls of medical professionals, charities, disabled people and carers for urgent action must also be heeded. Now that the WOW petition has reached 100,000 signatures Parliament should urgently debate these issues and there should be a free vote on the repeal of the Work Capability Assessment. The threat of sanction for those on disability benefits who do not work should be removed while there is a committee-based independent inquiry into Welfare Reform."

[1] http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html

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