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Government Slashes Benefits For Disabled Children

April 13, 2011

Benefits for disabled youngsters have been sneakily slashed by 50% under the Tory-led coalition.

Chancellor George Osborne buried the “appalling” change in the small print of last month’s budget.

The move will see the disability element of the child tax credit cut from a maximum £52 a week to just £25.95.

Around 100,000 families could lose up to £1,366 a year – or more than £20,000 by the time their child reaches 16.

The drastic cut, which hits the poor hardest, has outraged disability groups.

Helen Dent, chief executive of the charity Family Action, slammed the move.

She said: “The universal credit is failing before it’s even begun with some of the poorest and disadvantaged children set to lose out over their lifetimes. Iain Duncan Smith’s have-a-go hero stance on welfare is set to damage the chances of disabled children and their families.

“This callous cut is a hallmark of a Government bent on cut-price welfare reform with little thought for who is really going to be hurt by these changes.”

Currently families on less than £41,300 a year are entitled to child tax credit depending on how many children they have.

Families with disabled children can get a top-up benefit, known as the disability element of the child tax credit, worth £52.21. If a child is severely disabled families get an extra £26.06 – taking the total benefit to £73.27 a week.

The Government plans to keep the amount paid to families with severely disabled children – but halve the cash given to parents on the basic disability element of the child tax credit.

The change is part of Iain Duncan Smith’s plan to roll all benefits into one “Universal Credit”. Labour’s Margaret Curran, who sits on the Commons’ Work and Pen-sions Select Committee, said it was disgrace-ful for the Government to aim its cuts at disabled children. She said: “It’s appalling and raises grave concerns about the support offered to families with disabled children.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said the Government had put aside enough money to maintain benefits at the same level during the switch to the universal benefit.

She added: “We have agreed a package that will ensure that there are no cash losers. We have also increased the number of children eligible for the higher rate of disability support and the introduction of Universal Credit will lift a million people, including 350,000 children out of poverty.

“This change will greatly improve opportunities for disabled people and families with a far more flexible system.”

But campaigners point out that families with a disabled child will get far less than they would have under Labour.

One Comment leave one →
  1. *Stargazer permalink
    April 20, 2011 9:52 pm

    As if things aren’t bad enough for children with physical and learning difficulties – with the slashing of services and available funding for things like specialised playschemes, support groups, transport and other initiatives – now the government look to halve the premium for the basic disability element of the child tax credit. Who do they think they are – it seems they’ve decided that the same people/ families who couldn’t manage without this at all will have to get by on just half of it? It’s a liberty that they have no right to take – I think it’s insulting – making disadvantaged people pay for the defecit when it’s the greedy people at the top who have necessitated these “austerity measures” – where’s the fair??

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