HEREFORD'S MP has defended his decision to vote in favour of a cut to disability benefits saying it will help claimants find work.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, voted in favour of cutting £30-a-week from disabled people claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, also voted in favour of the cut.

Charities have warned that the cut would mean disabled people will struggle on the amount of money given to them and that it would make it more difficult to find work.

Mr Norman is a patron of Herefordshire Riding for the Disabled Association, based at Holme Lacy.

He said: "I have always been very strongly committed to the wellbeing of disabled people in my constituency and always will be."

Mr Norman said from April of next year new ESA claimants who are placed in the Work-related Activity Group will receive the same rate of benefit as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

He added: "There will also be new measures to support disabled people who are able to work, in moving from benefits into full or part-time employment; and to allow disabled people to earn more while on ESA WRAG."

Mr Norman said the change only affects new claims made after that date and said there will also be a White Paper later this year with further measures to improve support for claimants with health conditions and disabilities.

He added: "For the vast majority of disabled people it is far better to be in work than in receipt of a benefit, as both experts and disability groups agree.

"But it is still unclear what the status will be of ESA WRAG recipients who move to Universal Credit after April 2017.

"I am pressing the government to ensure they do not lose out from the transition."

The cut to ESA went through the House of Commons at the start of the month, but a second cut to personal independence payments (PIP) proposed by George Osborne in his budget is expected to be scrapped today.

Mr Wiggin did not respond to the Hereford Times when asked if he would like to comment.