"Death by a thousand cuts" - MPs debate changes to disability support
Wednesday 19th December 2018
Later today, MPs will debate the cumulative impact assessment of changes to disability support.
Earlier our Head of Campaigns, Una Summerson, went to brief MPs about the changes to disability support affecting families with disabled children. Using evidence from our newly published Counting the Costs research into family finances, she talked to MPs about these key points:
- Families with disabled children have been hit over and over again by changes to the social security system in recent years.
- Our Counting the Costs research found a third say changes to the benefits system has left their family worse off. For many they are worse off by thousands of pounds each year.
- These are the same families who are also seeing vital local services such as respite, school transport and NHS therapies being reduced, charged for, or removed due the pressure on local authority and health budgets.
- Families with disabled children are hit from all directions. Or as one parent put it "It's like death by thousand cuts. It's gotten more difficult to access services and the benefit system is like a minefield. Is the system designed to make me fail?"
- The result of this perfect storm of cuts to financial support and local services is a sharp rise in disabled children going without the essentials such as food, heating, specialist therapies and equipment.
- This is before the true impact of Universal Credit hits. 100,000 families with disabled children will be worse off by more than £1,750 per year per child under Universal Credit. This is because of the 50% cut to the lower child disability addition.
- When the stakes are so high it's difficult to understand why any government would introduce a system that would make caring for a disabled child more difficult and stressful.
That's why Contact is calling on the government to:
- Stop the £175 million cut to child disability payments under Universal Credit.
- Conduct an impact assessment on how Universal Credit will affect families with disabled children as a distinct group.
- Plug the gap in funding for disabled children's services by setting up a Disabled Children's Fund, to increase free access to respite care, essential therapies and specialist equipment.