Opinion Former Article

Rethink: Now it’s time for the government to pause and listen on welfare reform

The charity Rethink Mental Illness is calling for the government to hold a listening exercise on welfare reform, just as it did over NHS reform, following three defeats in the Lords last night.

Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness said: “We’re delighted that Peers have listened to disability campaigners and agree with us that the Bill would cause harm to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“It’s absolutely right that those with serious conditions like cancer retain vital support. However, given the government’s commitment to putting mental illness on a level with physical illness, we see no reason why people with severe and enduring mental illnesses such as schizophrenia aren’t also exempt from the proposed ESA time limit.

“Last night’s triple defeat in the Lords highlights just how controversial these reforms are, and the strength of feeling against some of the measures in the Bill. With this in mind, we urge the government to take this opportunity to pause and listen to the people whose lives will be changed forever by this legislation, some of the most vulnerable and unwell people in our society.”

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