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Disability benefit spending reduced by £5 billion over the last decade

24 September 2018

Figures obtained by Frank Field MP show that the amount spent on disabled people’s benefits has shrunk by £5 billion following a decade of austerity and cuts.

Spending on welfare benefits for the UK’s poorest families will have shrunk by nearly a quarter after a decade of austerity, according to new figures highlighting the plunge in living standards experienced by the worst-off

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said:

“These new figures once again highlight that those hardest hit by austerity have been disabled people and that this has been a deliberate result of Government policy.

"PIP was openly stated to be designed to reduce disability benefit spending by 20%. ESA has been reduced by around £30 per week for many new claimants since April 2107. Universal Credit also excludes the severe disability premium worth around £65 per week to those formerly entitled to it.

"All this when it is well known that disabled people have extra costs due to their disability”

By 2021, £37 billion less will be spent on working-age social security compared with 2010, despite rising prices and living costs, according to estimates produced by the House of Commons library.

The figures, obtained by the Frank Field, show that just under half the total savings will come from the freezing of most working-age benefit levels since 2016, a policy which will deliver cuts of nearly £16bn.

However, there are also severe cuts are in disabled peoples benefits - personal independence payments (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA) – which together will have shrunk by nearly 5 billion, or by 10%, since the start of the decade.

A new measurement of UK poverty published last week by the Social Metrics Commission highlighted that more than half of families living below the breadline contained at least one person with a disability.

A recent Freedom of Information response obtained by DR UK showed that around half of DLA claimants who were in receipt of its higher mobility rate are being refused it on their moving to PIP.

Other cuts include: tax credits (£4.6bn), universal credit (£3.6bn), child benefit (£3.4bn), disability benefits (£2.8bn), ESA and incapacity benefit (£2bn) and housing benefit (£2.3bn).

Field said the benefit cuts were behind increases in food bank use and destitution:

“A £37 billion attack has been mounted on the living standards of many of our fellow citizens to such an extent that possibly millions struggle to keep on top of their rent, pay the bills and buy adequate food.”

On average, disabled people face extra costs of £570 a month related to their impairment or condition.