Disability news

Charities disappointed Spring Budget failed to address disabled people’s needs

Jeremy Hunt outside downing street holding a suitcase

A number of charities supporting disabled people has expressed their disappointment in today’s Spring Budget.

The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group [VODG] is the membership body representing over 145 voluntary sector organisations who support and work alongside disabled people. The combined turnover of our member organisations is £2.8 billion, employing 85,000 staff who support more than one million disabled people.

Their Chief Executive, Dr Rhian Hughes, said: ‘Today’s budget ignores the needs of millions of people, by failing to invest in social care. 

‘Whilst investment in early years and SEND [Special Educational Needs and Disabilities] is welcome, to continue to overlook social care is to cut essential services for disabled people and their families.

‘The current system is unsustainable. Local government is unable to fund the services people need, and today’s Budget has done nothing to put the sector on a surer footing. 

‘Charities now face the stark reality of needing fees to rise by at least 12% in 2024/25 to cover costs including the government’s commitment to increase National Living Wage, but council uplifts for next year are falling far short of this. 

‘The impact will be the loss of support for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, who continue to be failed by the Government’s refusal to provide the funding and certainty councils, charities and most importantly disabled people, need.’ 

Amy Little, head of Advocacy at Leonard Cheshire, responded to the Budget saying: “While declaring one of his 'greatest privileges was to be Health Secretary,' in today's Budget the Chancellor seemingly forgot he was actually the former Health and Social Care Secretary. Ever the overlooked sibling, adult social care was again ignored in Jeremy Hunt's Budget speech. 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?

“The Chancellor’s speech did not mention disabled people at all. And it did not mention adult social care. The Budget Red Book simply reannounced the £500 million from January, which doesn’t even come close to plugging the gaps.

“Once again, hard-hit local councils will be forced to make cuts and disabled people will go without essential care. Tax cuts must not be at the expense of people’s care.”

Little added the Budget also failed to address the extra cost of living which affects thousands of disabled people.

She said: “It is devastating that disabled people still have no targeted financial support. 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.

“While we welcome the six-month extension of the Household Support Fund, it must be better aimed at disabled people. We also urge the Government to move away from a last-minute, short-term approach to the fund. The Government must give local authorities long-term funding for locally-delivered emergency support schemes. This would offer greater financial security for people in need.”

[ Ahead of the Budget the Disability Poverty Campaign wrote to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt highlighting there needs to be a huge investment in special educational needs. ]

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