UK Politics

Ministers 'to rethink' disability cuts

Man in wheelchair Image copyright Science Photo Library

Planned changes to disability benefits will be "kicked into the long grass", according to a government source.

Chancellor George Osborne faced criticism over the cuts announced last week, which were likely to affect some 640,000 people.

The changes had been expected to shave £1.3bn a year off the Personal Independence Payments (PIP) bill.

"We need to take time and get reforms right and that will mean looking again at these proposals," the source said.

"We are not wedded to specific sums - it is about making sure that what will be an increasing amount of money goes to those who need it most."

The latest change applies to the formula the government uses to calculate the daily living component of PIP, which will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and come into effect in January 2017.

Mr Osborne has insisted the "most vulnerable" will still be protected.

The chancellor said earlier that the overall disability budget was "going up" and that ministers would be talking to colleagues and disability charities to "make sure we get this absolutely right".

In his Budget on Wednesday, Mr Osborne said that the government would be spending an extra £1bn on disability.

However, changes to disability benefits announced a few days earlier suggested the government would save £4.4bn by 2020-21.