What is the Budget and why is it important?
The Budget is when the Government announces changes to taxes. The Government may also announce extra money for services or cuts to benefits.
The Chancellor has said that he needs to put some money aside to see us through Brexit. It is unlikely therefore that there will be much extra money announced.
However here are the things to look out for
Many people with a learning disability rely on social care to help them live their lives. During the course of the Coalition Government £4.6 billion was cut from the adult social care budget. While councils have been told they can raise council tax in order to put more money into social care, this will not go far enough to meet the needs of disabled and older people.
There has been a lot in the news about the pressures on social care so we hope that this means the Chancellor will listen to our concerns.
Investment in skills
The Chancellor has said that he will be announcing an extra £500 million in skills training for 16-19 year olds. With less than 2 in 10 people with a learning disability in work, we are hoping some of this money will go towards providing skills training for young people with a learning disability.
Employment and support allowance and Universal Credit
The Budget after the General Election in 2015 announced a £30-a-week cut to Employment and Support Allowance for new claimants in the Work Related Activity Group. This and similar cuts to Universal Credit will affect thousands of disabled people in the future and we have been campaigning heavily to stop the cut.
Last week, people with a learning disability joined MPs from across all the different political parties to protest and we will continue to raise this issue!
We hope the Government will use this budget to announce plans to halt the cuts so that disabled people will not have to struggle even more.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Last week the Government announced that they would be making changes to PIP which would lead to a cut of £910 million.
The change is around psychological distress when it comes to planning a journey. As many people with a learning disability have difficulties planning a journey either on account of their learning disability or a connected mental health condition we’re concerned that the change is bad news.
We’re concerned it would lead to more cases of people with a learning disability being denied PIP, or receiving a lower award than under Disability Living Allowance (DLA). We are already hearing a lot of stories of people who previously were able to access DLA having financial support denied under PIP.
The budget is an ideal opportunity for the Government to make changes and we hope that on Wednesday, the concerns of people with a learning disability are listened.
Stay tuned to #Budget2017 for Tweets from Rob and the Parliamentary Team from 12.30 on Wednesday 8 March.
If you have any worries or want advice on benefits remember to call Mencap Direct!
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