Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been accused of "attacking the disabled" after revealing severe benefits sanctions in today's Autumn Budget.

One controversial sanction was forcing some people on disability benefits to work from home.

Hunt previously said those sanctioned face losing their access to free NHS prescriptions and legal aid.

In the "biggest welfare reform in a decade", he added that claimants who do not find a job within 18 months will also be forced to "mandatory" work placements. Those failing to comply with the rules will have their benefits cut off.

He added: “If after 18 months of intensive support, job seekers have not found a job, we will roll out a programme requiring them to take part in mandatory work placement.

“If they choose not to engage with the work such process for six months. We will close their case and stop their benefits.”

But hundreds of thousands of people with mobility and mental health problems are set to be told their benefits will be cut, by £4,680 a year, unless they find work they can do from home.

Sarah White, from Sense, the disability charity, said the move “looks sets to punish disabled people, adding more anxiety on to disabled households that are already struggling”.

Laura Trott, chief secretary to the Treasury, said people had to do their “duty”. “If they are able to go out to work they should,” she said. “Those who can work and contribute should contribute.”

But charities condemned the plans.

James Taylor, from the disability equality charity Scope, said: “These proposals are likely to force disabled people to look for work even when they aren’t well enough.”


He added: “Threatening disabled people with more sanctions will not lead to more disabled people getting into and staying in work. Forcing disabled people into unsuitable jobs and cutting financial support in a cost of living crisis will be disastrous.”

Last week Mr Hunt told the Independent his “priority” for tax cuts would always be business tax cuts, designed to boost the economy.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liz Kendall blamed Mr Sunak for the millions out of work.

She said this morning: "It's very interesting to see Rishi Sunak railing against the fact millions of people are out of work due to long-term sickness, saying it's a scandal they've been written off. Well, who's done that?.. it's happened under their watch."

Ms Kendall accused the Government of "desperately trying to wipe their hands for the last 13 years that they are responsible for".

Otherwise in his budget, there was confirmation of the new minimum wage 9.8% rise at £11.44/yr from April and it'll now apply to all over 21s. This was previously over 23s.