Lib Dem MPs and ministers have been put under more pressure to oppose the proposed one year time limit on claiming contribution-based employment and support allowance (ESA) following a successful motion by the youth wing at the party conference.

The motion and amendment call on Lib Dem MPs to ‘​oppose an arbitrary time limit on how long claimants can claim contributory ESA’​. It also calls for a review of the performance of Atos in regard to the quality of medical assessments and for the government to ‘​reconsid​er’​ the proposed exclusion of welfare benefits from the scope of legal aid.

It remains to be seen how much support this motion will get from Lib Dem MPs and ministers such as Steve Webb, who when out of office were highly vocal in their criticism of the treatment of sick and disabled claimants.

An account on the Diary of a Benefit Scrounger blog gives more details of the motion and also makes it clear what a large hand Steve Webb had in watering down the original much more strongly worded demands. In particular, many campaigners will be deeply disappointed that a call to scrap sanctions against ESA claimants was dropped at the last moment.


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