Tory MP responds to mad cow disease victim’s benefit cut: “Strong economic management”

Unable to walk, talk or feed herself, doubly incontinent and depending on 24-hour care, Emily Lydon was given a work capability assessment and had her benefits halved.

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Emily Lydon, a 19-year-old woman who is unable to speak, walk and feed herself – having been born brain-damaged after her mother contracted CJD, the human equivalent of mad cow disease – has had her benefits cut.

Brought up by her grandmother after her mother died from the illness at 24, she has just been told their joint income from benefits will be more than halved. This cut, brought on by a switch to the new Universal Credit system, could leave them homeless as they face selling their bungalow.

She was also made to attend a work capability assessment at a Jobcentre, with staff then sent to “review” her.

When the Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee picked out this story in the Sunday morning newspaper review on The Andrew Marr Show, her fellow guest Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng gave an extraordinary response – with a boast about his CV and the economy.

“Look, I spent 18 months as the Chancellor’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, I got to know the Treasury very well, I was involved in the last Budget. If you look at the last Budget which was very, very well-received, you could see the benefits of good and strong economic management.

“What we’ve done is we’ve managed to reduce the deficit, I know Polly doesn’t like going on about it, but the actual economic framework this country’s in is a very strong one.

“I don’t know. I’ve read this story, and it’s a sad story, but I think – broadly, to think that Labour, with their policies of nationalisation, of getting the debt up to a thousand billion pounds, would…”

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