BBC Radio 4 Today, 23 January 2016

Senior Research Director Charlotte Pickles appeared on BBC 4’s Today programme to discuss the Government’s proposal to reduce the rate of benefit paid to people on the lower level of Employment and Support Allowance. It followed publication on Saturday of an open letter to the Secretary of State, signed by disability charities, opposing the change. Charlotte argued that the current system is trapping people on sickness benefits and the reduction is needed as part of a package of reform to get more disabled people into work.

She argued there is international evidence that a higher benefit rate often encourages more people to claim it, and that they are less likely to move off it. She also highlighted the important point that financial assistance is not the only type of help that can be provided to help disabled people move into employment, and that the ESA benefit is only one of a wider package of benefits and support services available.