Caroline Lucas MP answers on equality impact assessments (ESA)
November 9, 2010
A Disabled constituent of Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, has emailed to her asking if the equality impact assessments of the coalition government’s policy decisions are available and whether or not she has seen them?
Ms Lucas, who represents the Green Party, answered by return email and stated that she had tabled a series of written parliamentary questions in the run up to the Comprehensive Spending review asking each department whether an equality impact assessment of their planned cuts had been conducted. None were able to produce such an assessment and all claim this work will be done at a later stage.
She told her Disabled constituent: “I do not think this is good enough and it makes clear that despite the government’s claim to have produced a fair budget there is no evidence for such a claim. On the contrary, as you know, cuts to the disability living allowance, to housing benefit and to employment support are distinctly unfair and will penalise the most vulnerable.”
Ms Lucas added: “The budget announced last month will destroy half a million jobs in the public sector, according to the Government’s own estimates. And the knock-on effects will be at least as many jobs lost in the private sector. Moreover, when those public sector workers find themselves out of work they will, along with disabled people, feel the full force of the additional £7 billion worth of cuts in welfare spending, on top of the £11 billion of cuts announced in June.
“The Chancellor talked a great deal about fairness but I think there is nothing fair about a budget that lets vital public services go to the wall, hitting the poorest hardest.”
Ms Lucas has spoken out about the cuts and has made the point that in the long term changes are neither cost effective nor fair. She has also spoken in the debate about housing benefit – to argue that cuts in this area will impact disproportionately on disabled people and that by crudely slashing help with mortgage interest payments in half the Government is potentially forcing thousands of disabled homeowners into arrears or homelessness.