MS Society Patron Malthouse Votes to Cut Disability AllowanceAndover’s MP and Patron of the local MS Society group, Kit Malthouse has supported the Conservative Government, by voting to cut ESA disability benefits by £30 a week.

The vote will mean that those who apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the work-related activity group (Wrag), will see the benefit drop from £103 to £73 per week.

The Government hopes that the cut, which only applies to new claimants, will incentivise disabled people to find work.

Conservative Malthouse told Andover & Villages, “This Government is trying to break away from the low and limiting expectations previous governments have had for disabled people. 64% of people on ESA want to do some kind of work and we’re putting resources into helping them fulfil their potential.

“I’m disappointed at the misinformation and scaremongering about the changes. There will be no change for people already claiming ESA. There will also be no change for those people who are unable to work. The changes only affect new claimants from April 2017 in the Work Related Activity Group. From that date they will receive the same direct level of financial support as those on JSA with extra help to overcome challenges they face. The government has also lifted the time limit on receiving ESA which means many people will be able to continue to work up to 16 hours a week and now receive this benefit indefinitely.

“I support the government in believing that we shouldn’t write people off and I will be holding a summit for employers in April designed to help them be confident about employing people with disabilities. ”

The House of Lords have been arguing to delay the cuts, pending a report on the impact on claimants, but finally admitted defeat after being accused of “overstepping their mark”.

Donna Birch, Chair of Andover’s MS Society told Andover & Villages, “We feel sadly let down by our patron’s actions.

“Enough stress has already been put on our members by the upheaval of the benefits system, this just adds to their worries.”


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Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via or alternatively called at