Blog Lobby Parliament on 13th January! Through the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, the Government is planning on reducing benefits that many disabled people and their families rely on. On Wednesday 13th January, the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is holding a mass lobby of Parliament, enabling people with a range of disabilities to meet with their MPs and campaign for crucial changes to the bill. The Welfare Reform and Work Bill includes proposals that will affect those who claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit, Tax Credit and Universal Credit. Three of the most concerning proposals are: 1. To cut ESA – specifically, this means those in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA will lose almost £30 a week of their benefit, beginning from April 2017 for new claimants. The Government claims this will incentivise people in ESA-WRAG towards employment. However, a review carried out by the House of Lords has found that the cut would leave thousands of disabled people and their families in poverty. 2. To lower the Benefit Cap – the maximum amount of money out-of-work families can currently claim is £26,000 a year. This is to be reduced to £23,000 a year for families in London and £20,000 a year for those elsewhere. The Government claims to have exempted disabled people from this cap, but there are many gaps they could fall through. As the cap mainly affects those on Housing Benefit, it could leave many families struggling to pay rent. 3. To freeze benefits – the freeze would apply to a number of benefits for people of working age, including ESA, preventing any rise in payments for the next four years. As the cost of living rises, this is effectively a reduction each year. We, as a member of the DBC, are campaigning for cuts to ESA to be scrapped, and full exemption for disabled people and their family carers from the Benefit Cap and benefits freeze. There are several ways you can support the campaign. Join the lobby! The lobby will take place in Westminster Hall on Wednesday 13th January between 12.30pm and 5.30pm. Come and show your support! Download more information on the lobby Write to your MP Ask your MP to meet you at the lobby to talk about your concerns. If you’re unsure what to write, here’s the DBC’s suggested template: Dear [name] MP, I live in your constituency and I will be taking part in the Disability Benefits Consortium lobby on Wednesday 13th January. On this day, 100 disabled people – like me – are coming to Parliament to talk to our MPs about the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. I would like to book a meeting with you in Westminster to discuss the Bill. Please let me know when you are available between 12.30pm and 5.30pm on Wednesday 13th January. Many thanks, [Name] [Full address including postcode] Speaking to your MP can seem daunting. If you’re worried about what to discuss, take a look at the DBC’s guide for more information on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, and what it means for you. An easy read copy of the document is also available. Download easy read information on the lobby Look out for David Allkins Our news correspondent David Allkins will be filming a video report on the lobby. Look out for him at the event and there may be a chance for you to get involved! His report will be posted on our website and his dedicated news correspondent playlist on YouTube, and shared on our Twitter and Facebook accounts, so keep an eye out for updates. We hope to see you at the lobby! Danielle Mendel, press and campaigns assistant.