New Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey – Maria Miller Mark II?
- McVey was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Employment Minister Chris Grayling in November 2010 and in this role supported Grayling’s work to get the Welfare Reform Bill made law. At the time McVey said: “I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to work within the Department of Work and Pensions alongside Chris Grayling and Iain Duncan Smith to assist in bringing about key changes. The appointment will enable me to give support to the minister and allow me to give vital feed back to the department from the people of Wirral and the wider area, while at the same time pushing for jobseekers to get the best possible help to get jobs as an urgent priority.”
- According to the blog of Labour MEP Mary Honeyball, McVey is a member of Conservative Way Forward. Its Honorary President is Margaret Thatcher. It was founded in 1991 to “defend and build upon the achievements of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership, and to adapt the principles of her era in government to modern concerns and challenges”.
- According to the Wirral Globe, Esther McVey worked from 2003 with Iain Duncan Smith to help establish the Centre for Social Justice. This right-wing think tank heavily influenced the development of the government’s Welfare Reform Act which Duncan Smith steered through Parliament in his role as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with the help of Employment Minister Chris Grayling.
- On 01 February 2012, McVey voted with the government to defeat the seven amendments agreed by the House of Lords to the Welfare Reform Bill. Before being thrown out, these amendments originally:
a) Protected housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have un-needed spare rooms.
b) Protected young disabled people’s eligibility for contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
c) Raised to 24 months the proposed 12-month limit on claiming contributory ESA.
d) Exempted cancer patients from the contributory ESA limits.
e) Excluded child benefit from the £26,000 household benefit cap.
f) Dropped proposal to charge single parents for using the Child Support Agency.
g) Dropped proposals to cut disability living allowance payments by up to £1,400 a year for around 100,000 children.
- When McVey spoke in a House of Commons debate on Communities and Local Government on 20 December 2011 she said:
“When the coalition came into government, its focus had to be on reducing the UK’s debt and putting the UK economy on a sustainable footing. For too long, the UK had overspent and under-delivered. The Chancellor made it clear that the Government’s economic policy objective is to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries, rebalancing the economy by moving from unsustainable public spending and towards exports and investment.”
- When McVey spoke in a House of Commons debate on Community Cohesion on 26 January 2011 she said:
“I believe that our Localism Bill very much embeds all the charities and all the volunteers within what we are trying to do, whether it is HealthWatch, the Work programme, community groups or community centres. The big society is everything that you are talking about, just seen from a different viewpoint, and I have people coming to me locally and saying, ‘Thank goodness we’ve been liberated to go forth and develop what we want, rather than having a top-down state approach.’ “
- In a political discussion on 29 April 2012 led by Dermot Murnaghan on SKY News, McVey said:
“[David Cameron] he set out what he planned to do for five years, it was a five year agenda, not a two year one, not a three year one and we are in a coalition and not a Conservative government and the first thing we had to do was get the budget under control. When you ain’t got much money there’s not much you can do and when you are saying no to people, we can’t afford, let’s be honest you’re not going to be popular. But he has got to stick to his guns and he really has got to do that, he has got to get that under control and at the same time look what we’re doing with welfare. We have said it has to pay to go to work, we’re very clear there; education, we have to get that under control because we’ve fallen in all the OECD tables therefore that was wrong, so many things. How about exports, what about manufacturing? All these things he’s doing, we’ve got to do and it is a five year plan and we’ve got to stick to it.”