Ken Loach urges Government not to cut disability benefits


Award-winning filmmaker Ken Loach has warned Chancellor Philip Hammond not to target the disabled in next week's mini Budget.

The director of the critically acclaimed I, Daniel Blake urged the Government not to pick on some of the most vulnerable people in society in the Autumn Statement financial announcement.

"The immediate thing is they are threatening to cut the disability allowance by 30%. That should not happen.

"It's meagre anyway. People with disabilities need the barest minimum that they are given at the moment just to survive, just to get by, just to keep going and try and get back into work.

"To cut that is cutting money from the most vulnerable and poorest people. And Philip Hammond should outlaw that immediately. Don't cut the disability benefit," he told BBC Radio Four's Westminster Hour.

Tory former Cabinet Minister John Redwood also expressed concern about proposed cuts to the employment and support allowance.

He said: "I'd like them to look again at the whole issue of disability treatment, not necessarily that particular cut, I can understand their case for that, it doesn't affect anyone who is currently on benefits which is very important.

"The point about it all is I don't want them taking money away from people currently getting it - which is why I was able to vote for it reluctantly - but I think we can to do better by the disabled."

Mr Redwood, considered a hardline Thatcherite when he was in Cabinet, said he was unhappy with the bedroom tax.

"No, I wasn't comfortable with that. I thought there were better ways of ensuring proper allocation of housing without affecting people's rights that they've already got, but it was part of a package in a very difficult situation.

"I think now the economy is in better shape, I'd like the Government to look at all these areas in the round.

"Mrs (Theresa) May and Mr Hammond have come up with some much better language about how they wish to support people and help people and I hope they will come up with a range of interesting proposals that will be better."