Our take on the latest Budget statement: Problems solved?
Our Director of Policy, Gemma Hope, goes through some of the most pressing issues below and assess whether or not this Budget dealt with them.
Prices rising, inflation soaring, and an unsettled outlook around the world – Rishi Sunak’s spring Budget Statement comes at a time when a lot of us need reassurance, especially on the cost of living.
And this is especially true of people of disabled people, who already face extra costs and barriers to financial security. So was this the break that people squeezed by spiralling living costs had been waiting for?
Rising costs and inflation
Verdict: Not enough to protect disabled people
Tax cuts notwithstanding, this budget offers no easy solutions to the problems of high inflation and rising prices.
Particularly disappointing is that the government overlooks straightforward, cost-effective interventions for most disabled people, who face extra costs already. Tying an increase in all benefit payments (including PIP and UC) to inflation would help disabled people on low incomes or those who are out of work. Instead, the 3.1% on offer could soon lag- behind inflation by a full five percentage points or more.
This marks a steep a cut in real terms and could leave people hundreds of pounds worse off per year.
All this means is more disabled people will be pushed below the breadline into poverty. The government needs to understand this and take action. We need to see all benefits rise in line with inflation. Anything less constitutes a cut to payments in real terms.
Verdict: Still no way forward
We, again, heard little about social care.
While we welcome the already announced funding from the health and social care levy, we need to see much more investment in social care to provide disabled people with the high-quality support they need. Without additional funding to meet inflationary pressures, social care could remain underfunded and many working-age disabled people could be left without vital assistance.
International development and aid
Verdict: Foreign aid still in limbo
Once again, there was no clarity around when Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be restored to 0.7%, nor may it be until at least 2023/24.
This is simply not good enough. Marginalised groups continue to suffer in the wake of the pandemic, and global events like the conflict in Ukraine will also hit these groups – including disabled people – the hardest. We need to see a clear plan from this government on how they intend to restore ODA, otherwise they are failing the people that need support the most.