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Budget falls short for so many

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt outside 11 Downing Street ahead of budget statement. Shutterstock.

CHANCELLOR Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget has failed to address many of the issues affecting disabled people and carers, say all the major charities.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “This Budget falls very short of supporting the UK’s 5.7 million carers who are looking after an ill, elderly, or disabled relative or friend.

“We are incredibly disappointed that the Chancellor has not prioritised unpaid carers in what could be his last Budget. Although the six-month extension to the Household Support Fund will support some carers on a short-term basis, it is nowhere near enough to address the cost-of-living crisis that continues to hammer thousands of carers.

“We had called for significant reform and increases to Carer’s Allowance and other carers benefits. Alas, carers who keep our NHS and Social Care services afloat at their own cost have yet again been ignored.”

No support for millions of unpaid carers living in poverty

Tamara Sandoul, on behalf of the Carers Poverty Coalition: “This Budget is incredibly disappointing. Unpaid carers on low incomes will be devastated to see that they have, once again, been forgotten.

“The Government has also missed key opportunities to support carers’ ability to work by not increasing the earnings limit for those in receipt of Carer’s Allowance to 21 hours per week, pegged to the National Living Wage, and by not granting those on Universal Credit a Work Allowance.”

Disabled workers overlooked

Angela Matthews, Business Disability Forum’s head of policy: “The Government missed a crucial opportunity to demonstrate its level of commitment to supporting disabled people in the labour market.

“Access to Work remains the single most pivotal scheme that helps employers support disabled people into work and stay in work. Yet, every year, the budget fails to invest in a long-term, sustainable strategic financial ambition to keep the scheme functioning as businesses and disabled individuals need it to.

“There is not enough in this budget, however, to create, in the Chancellor’s words, a “high wage, high skill” labour market where people with disabilities and conditions are included and can take part fully and with the right support.

“This calls into question the Government’s commitment to reducing the disability employment gap and ensuring full participation for disabled people in every area of the UK’s economy.”

No mention of disabled people or social care

Amy Little, head of advocacy at disability charity Leonard Cheshire: “Ever the overlooked sibling, adult social care was again ignored. Disabled adults of all ages urgently need social care, and the entire sector is on its knees. Yet the Budget offered no new funding for adult social care.

“Perhaps the Chancellor also forgot his 2022 LBC interview with Andrew Marr, lamenting that his big regret as Health and Social Care Secretary was failing to transform the social care system?

“And perhaps the Chancellor forgot that when he chaired the Health and Social Care Select Committee in 2020, it called for an additional £7 billion a year for social care as a “starting point”.

“The Chancellor’s speech did not mention disabled people at all. Disabled people face substantial extra costs, often using more energy. Our calculations show high energy users will pay £675 more in the year ahead than the average household.”

Mel Merritt, head of policy and campaigns at the National Autistic Society: “The Chancellor failed to address the major issues affecting autistic people: record waits for diagnosis; a chronic lack of local social care services; discrimination that means only three in 10 autistic people are in employment; ending the scandal of autistic people being wrongly detained in mental health hospitals and families having to fight too long, for too little support for autistic young people in school.

“It’s time to invest in autistic people’s futures, to create a society that works for all autistic people.”

Vivienne Francis, RNIB chief social change officer: “Blind and partially sighted people are among those hardest hit by the cost of living crisis. This Budget included a tax cut for working people – but many disabled people are not getting the support they need to stay in or enter work due to lack of investment in hugely over-stretched programmes such as Access to Work.
“The government need to urgently speed up the delivery of Access to Work support which thousands of people are waiting months to receive, risking their jobs and careers. Otherwise, they will remain financially and socially disenfranchised.”

 Richard Kramer, chief executive at Sense: “Many disabled people are teetering on a financial cliff edge. This, Budget has done little to help them back from the brink. While the extension of the Household Support Fund is a relief compared to the alternative, by only extending it for six months families will be left high and dry next winter.

“Sense’s research shows that rising costs have pushed over half of disabled households into debt. This desperate situation is being further exacerbated by continued pressures on public services for disabled people. Disabled households are in desperate need of more support and long-term solutions, such as a social energy tariff.”





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