Please please please protect the sick and the poor when you vote on welfare reform.

I sent the below email to a bunch of Lib Dems today as the House of Lords will vote for time limiting ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) to just one year THIS AFTERNOON. This means that those who are sick (no matter how sick) will have all their benefits taken away from them after just one year putting them in an absolutely unimaginable situation. You can find a list of email addresses on the UK Uncut website if you too wish to send an email. You can also use and adapt my letter below, if you are limited for time which was adapted from a template which can be found on the UK Uncut site.

Rose Mouton, La Bouche Zine

“As somebody who voted for Lib Dems in the last general election, I am writing to you in the hope that you will not vote for time limtiting ESA to just one year in the coming welfare reform bill Report Stage and Third Reading. This could put people who are already suffering immensely in an absolutely unbearable and inhumane situation.

-700,000 people with serious illnesses and impairments will be affected by this policy, many losing any right to an independent income. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/esa-time-limit-wr2011-ia.pdf

-The means test is set at just £7,500 per year, meaning that a partner must support an unwell or disabled loved one if they earn more than this.

-Families already overwhelmingly living in poverty will lose £4661 per year. This is three times as much as higher rate taxpayers will lose in child benefit.

-This policy only affects working families and savers as it only applies to those who have contributed NI or have savings over £6000.

-It is a disincentive to work and will only encourage families to break down http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/esa-time-limit-wr2011-ia.pdf

-The only justification ministers have given for this policy is that “We can’t afford it” Sick and disabled people with limited capability for work are conflated with jobseekers as ministers claim ESA must be brought into line with JSA

-Ministers admit that 94% of those affected will not have found work by the end of the year. They also insist that it is irrelevant whether or not they have recovered. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/esa-time-limit-wr2011-ia.pdf

-People with serious, lifelong, and degenerative conditions will all be affected by this. People with MS, Cancer, Parkinsons, Bowel Disease, Kidney Failure, Heart Disease, Lung Disease, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar and many many more conditions will lose benefits, left in limbo until they are judged unable to do any kind of work at all,. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/1015/1015vw44.htm

At your annual conference this year, Liberal Democrat members voted overwhelmingly to oppose an “arbitrary time limit” on ESA. http://carons-musings.blogspot.com/2011/09/please-support-glasgow-norths-brilliant.html Please, please, stand by the wishes of your grassroots and of your party and oppose this cruellest of measures.

We are relying on you to help us. Only Liberal Democrat peers can provide a majority and ensure that a one year time limit on sickness benefits is not made law. Please, you promised to protect the most vulnerable and if ever a policy hit the most vulnerable the hardest, then it is time limiting ESA.

Many thanks,

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