Critics of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party say welfare reforms unveiled Wednesday show why it is nicknamed the “bad party.” Under the new plan, people with disabilities, including those with mobility or mental health issues, will be instructed to seek work they can do from home or risk having their benefits reduced by nearly 6 000 dollars per year, depending on Guardian reports. Jeremy Hunt, the country’s Treasury chief, said it was “economically and morally wrong” for more than 100,000 people a year with illness or disability to receive benefits without being forced to look for work , reports the Times from London.
Officials say they plan to use digital tools to track participation in interviews and job fairs. Critics, including disability charities, have slammed the plan as poorly thought out, pointing out that the number of work-from-home jobs has fallen sharply since the end of the pandemic. “Everyone should be able to work if they want to and can, but this latest government measure appears designed to punish disabled people, adding even more anxiety to disabled households who are already struggling,” said Sarah White, head of policy at the disability charity. Meaning, according to Guardian.
Rachel Reeves, from the opposition Labor Party, accused the government of ignoring the “wider problem” of high rates of long-term illness and long National Health Service waiting lists, Sky News reports. “Britain is the only G7 country where employment rates have still not returned to pre-pandemic levels,” she said. Hunt said on Wednesday that Britain’s economy had “turned a corner” and the government was introducing the biggest tax cuts since the 1980s, the AP reports. But despite the cuts, taxation is still on track to reach its highest level since World War II, with more people moving into tax brackets that have been frozen for years. (Read more stories from the UK.)