Sense Urges Government Not To Overlook Disabled People In Upcoming Budget
A press release:
Sense urges Government not to overlook disabled people in upcoming budget
National deafblind charity warns against long-term effects of failing to protect welfare benefits and social care for disabled people
Ahead of The Budget announcement this Wednesday [16th March 2016], national deafblind charity, Sense, is calling on the government to put the brakes on further cuts to disabled people.
The last few weeks have seen drastic reductions to ESA and the expectation of cuts to PIP payments, which will adversely affect the lives of many vulnerable people across the country. Sense is asking the Chancellor to seriously consider the impact of these changes ahead of The Budget and to stop further cuts to welfare benefits and to properly fund the social care services that are critical to maintaining the dignity and independence of thousands of disabled people.
There has been speculation that there will be changes made to the management of Attendance Allowance as part of the upcoming Budget. This vital benefit enables older disabled people to continue to live independently rather than being forced into residential care. Sense is concerned that by shifting the responsibility of managing this £5billion benefit budget to local councils, without a national eligibility criteria, there is a real risk that older disabled people will be faced with a post code lottery when claiming this essential benefit.
Rather than focusing on cutting welfare for disabled people, the charity is calling on the Government to make a commitment to improving life chances for disabled people.
Richard Kramer, Deputy Chief Executive for deafblind charity Sense, said:
“All too often, the most vulnerable people are the ones hit hardest by the Government’s spending cuts and the recent changes to ESA and expected announcements on PIP are prime examples of focusing on short-term savings rather than long-term consequences.
Welfare benefits and social care are critical in supporting disabled people to live independently and as active members of the community. Now there is speculation on changes to Attendance Allowance, which is particularly worrying as it is a vital benefit that protects older disabled people from being forced from their homes and into residential care. The threat of changes to this benefit is further evidence of quick savings trumping preventative measures.
The Government must focus on effective support to help those affected by recent cuts or else it runs the very real risk of dealing with the longer term implications of leaving some disabled people financially struggling, isolated from their communities and ultimately dependent on other services, such as the NHS, at a significant cost.
There is no room for any further cuts, which is why it is time to reframe the debate for disabled people. It is imperative that the Government refocuses on improving the life chances for disabled people and making a long term commitment to protecting the dignity and independence of disabled people across the country.”