The Prostate Cancer Charity comments on changes to the Welfare Reform Bill

Commenting on the ongoing debate surrounding to the Welfare Reform Bill, Owen Sharp, Chief Executive at The Prostate Cancer Charity, reiterated the call from 29 leading cancer charities, including the Charity and Macmillan, that the Employment Support Allowance should not be capped at 12 months before being means tested. He explains: "The changes to disability benefits will mean that a significant number of people with cancer will be left without vital financial support at a time when they need it the most.

"Under these changes, people who claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA) will be hit especially hard - only being able to receive this support for one year without being means tested. For many cancer patients it takes longer than a year to return to work. In fact, the Department of Work and Pensions' own statistics show that 75 per cent of cancer patients who will be affected by this policy, will still need ESA after one year. Understandably, this is due to the length of time people with cancer experience the debilitating effects of cancer or its treatment and the multiple barriers they face in getting back to work. The current proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill will discriminate against cancer patients and should be amended."