A CHARITY giving a voice to people with learning disabilities is calling on Stephen Crabb to end his government's 'damaging' cuts to welfare.

Mencap is asking members and supporters to write to the Preseli-Pembrokeshire MP, urging him to 'do things differently' in his new role as secretary for work and pensions.

Addressing Mr Crabb on its website, Mencap says: "For six years, disabled people have been hit again and again by damaging government cuts to the welfare state.

"This has had devastating consequences for their health, wellbeing and ability to find work.

"People with a learning disability have been hit particularly hard.

"In your first speech as Secretary of State you said, 'Together we can do so much better for disabled people'.  

"I hope you stand by this statement and will be watching with interest to see what announcements you make in your first few weeks at the DWP.

"Please be a champion for people with a learning disability."

But many Mencap supporters have slammed the charity's appeal, following Mr Crabb's vote in favour of a £30-a-week cut to Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for some new claimants.

Jane Sanders, whose son has Down's Syndrome, said Mr Crabb's voting record in the House of Commons had "hurt disabled people and others on low incomes".

"I cannot support a charity which is ignoring public feeling," she said.

"I am angry, you should be listening to us.

"You are doing Mencap no favours and neither is Stephen Crabb who would have resigned as patron by now surely, if he had any decency."

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition calling on the MP to step down as patron of the Pembrokeshire branch of Mencap.

Local anti-austerity campaigner Jim Scott, who started the petition, said it was “highly inappropriate” that Mr Crabb continue as a patron “after voting for such inhumane and damaging cuts”.

Defending his decision, Mr Crabb told the Western Telegraph the changes would still protect those that are “too ill to work”, but would help free more people from benefit dependency by getting them back into work.

This was despite peers in the House of Lords, and several of Mr Crabb’s fellow Conservative MPs calling for a further impact assessment of the proposals.

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire Mencap said it has long enjoyed the support of local MPs of all parties, and it would “not be in the society’s interest to ask Mr Crabb to resign”.

“There are bound to be occasions when some of the members will have different views to those of our patrons,” they added.

“The current legislation will be discussed in due course and our views expressed to our patron if thought necessary.”