The March 2020 Budget statement, delivered by the Chancellor today, had two principal aspects – measures to address the impact of the coronavirus outbreak; and some considerable spending commitments, geared substantially towards infrastructure projects.

One missing dimension was the need to fix a number of problems created for benefit claimants – not least those with disabilities – by changes to the social security system through the long period of austerity.

The DBC, of course, understands the need to deal with the coronavirus threat and is aware of the importance of infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, it is disappointing that the need to repair the impact of austerity on disabled claimants has not been recognised.

The upcoming spending round must tackle the numerous problems in the benefit system. Disabled people and those with long-term health conditions should expect no less.

DBC recommendations

These were our pre-Budget recommendations to the Chancellor:

  • Build upon the end of the benefit freeze by uprating payments by 2% above inflation for four years, so as to restore the amounts lost during the freeze – and restore the link between the “Local Housing Allowance” and rents at the 30th. percentile of the market.
  • Restore the disability elements lost in the transition from “legacy benefits” to Universal Credit.
  • Review the current Personal Independence Payment assessment criteria and process, in consultation with disabled people.
  • End the 5-week wait for Universal Credit.
  • Remove sanctions on disabled people’s benefits – base policy instead on high-quality, impairment-specific employment support

 

Further details from:

Geoff Fimister

Tel. 07743 813740

E-mail gfimister@blueyonder.co.uk

Policy Co-Chair,

Disability Benefits Consortium

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