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DR UK: Spending Review fails disabled people

27 November 2020

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, made no commitment to extend the current £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit beyond April 2021 in his Spending Review on Wednesday. Neither did he commit to extend the increase to over two million disabled people on legacy benefits including Employment and Support Allowance. This failure to act leaves millions of disabled people with insufficient money to live on with dignity and choice.

In the same spending statement, the Chancellor continued the government’s approach of treating health and social care differently, despite their equal importance in supporting people who need  care. The NHS was provided with an additional £6.3 billion, whilst social care was given £1 billion, with only £300 million in grant form with the rest to be raised locally. Long awaited social care reform proposals are promised for 2021.

 Anti-poverty campaigners and those fighting for much needed investment in social care have been left amazed and outraged by the failure to support those in society in most need.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:

“The Government passed up the opportunity to play fair with social care, instead granting it insufficient extra money to safeguard the current level of services through next year. Against the context of the pandemic, which is both driving up the level of need, and weakening the finances of providers, this is a decidedly reckless approach. Local authorities are once again being asked to square an impossible circle and this ungenerous settlement does very little to help the NHS either. However, it’s older and disabled people, and their families and carers, who will as ever pay the biggest price, with more likely to have to manage without the support they need. This is a bitter pill to swallow, especially after everything social care has been through this year.”

Mencap said: “The Government seems to be waiting for the roof to fall in before repairing the leak. We needed emergency funding now and pinned our hopes on the Chancellor’s statement. A bold plan for social care reform alongside long-term funding for a sustainable future is critical – continuing to kick the can down the road just isn’t good enough.”

Fazilet Hadi, Disability Rights UK’s Head of Policy said: “The Chancellor and the government have shown no compassion for those who require social care and those living in poverty. The continued distinction made between health and social care is breathtaking. Why is supporting someone in hospital viewed as more important than supporting someone in their own home, supported living or a residential setting? How can it possibly be justified to withhold the £20 per week uplift from disabled people on legacy benefits? This lack of empathy for the lives of millions of disabled people doesn’t bode well for the direction or content of the government’s soon to be published National Disability Strategy.”