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Christian campaigner urges Iain Duncan Smith to stop disability benefit cut
A Christian campaigner has called on Iain Duncan Smith to reconsider his plans to cut a benefit that will be received by sick and disabled people by £30 a week.
Tanya Marlow is part of Compassionate Britain, a Christian organisation aiming to mobilise believers to campaign against cuts which will affect disabled people. Mrs Marlow is disabled herself.
Compassionate Britain was one of more than thirty organisations and charities which signed an open letter calling on the Work and Pensions Secretary not to cut Employment Support Allowance by £30 a week for new claimaints.
Currently around 500,000 sick and disabled people receive this benefit. The proposed cut will affect future claimants, not current ones.
Peers in the House of Lords will be voting on the cut, as part of the government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill, next week.
Mrs Marlow said disabled people had been affected nine times more than ordinary people by the government's welfare reforms, with severely disabled people affected 19 times more.
She told Premier: "I think Iain Duncan Smith has made things incredibly difficult for sick and disabled people.
"He may have the best of intentions, but his policies in practice are an absolute disaster.
"We as a society, as a civilised, compassionate - maybe even Christian - society, have a responsible in looking after those who are most vulnerable.
"David Cameron did promise when he was reelected in 2015 that he would commit to care for the most vulnerable in society. He says he wanted this to be a government of compassion.
"So as a Christian I want to ask: where is the compassion?"
A DWP spokesman said: "This kind of scaremongering does nothing to help disabled people, and fails to acknowledge that existing claimants, and those with the most severe disabilities will not be affected at all.
"The current system needs reform because as it stands it fails to provide the right incentives, and acts to trap people on welfare.
"We are committed to ensuring that people have the best support possible, and that is what these changes are about."
Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking to Tanya Marlow here: