Today the Work and Pensions Committee has published a report stating the Government’s evidence that cutting the disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will incentivise disabled people to find work is “ambiguous at best.”

Mencap produced a report, Halving the Gap (PDF), stating that reducing  ESA will directly undermine the Government’s commitment to halving the disability employment gap.

Mencap is calling for the cut to be reversed before its introduction in April 2017.

Rob Holland, Parliamentary Manager at Mencap, said:

“This Report shows yet again that the Government has presented no robust evidence that cutting disabled people’s benefits will ‘incentivise’ them to find work. Instead the evidence suggests that this £30 a week cut will push disabled people further from work, closer to or into poverty as well as affecting their health.

“MPs from across all parties, disabled people and charities have spoken out against this cut, but it seems the Government intends to push ahead despite what is now overwhelming opposition. The Government must recognise that cutting £30 a week from Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit will thwart their own commitment to get more disabled people into work.

“From April 2017 new claimants will feel the effects of receiving a third less of a benefit that many desperately rely on to make ends meet. We urge the Government to halt this cut before its introduction and to look again at evidence that has been described as ‘ambiguous’ at best by the Work and Pensions Committee.”


For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or or for out of hours 07770 656 659.

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.

Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.