Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his Budget, and offered no mention of solving the social care crisis amid further cuts to disability benefits.
Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, said:
The Chancellor talked of a Budget that placed the next generation first, but this budget stands to take more away than it offers to the next generation of people with a learning disability.
The budget offered no assurance to those who will be affected by cuts to Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payments and the collapsing social care system.
The reduction in Business Rates will further reduce the ability of already cash-strapped local councils to pay for the social care that people with a learning disability desperately need. The care system is critically under-funded, many people with a learning disability are not getting the vital care and support they need so are stuck at home with nothing to do, isolated and scared about the future.
Today’s Budget added to this crisis and restricted the funding of care providers having to implement the National Living Wage further, making it harder for people with a learning disability and their families to access the care they rely on.
Alarmingly there was no mention of further funding for Short Breaks services which runs out this month and are a vital lifeline for families who care 24/7 for their loved ones and prevent them from reaching a crisis point.
The Government must now explain how it plans to support people with a learning disability who are seeing such drastic cuts to disability benefits which they were promised would be protected from cuts.
Lorainne Bellamy, Mencap spokesperson who has a learning disability, said:
I have a learning disability and have been living on my own now for seven years. My supporter helps me with letters about my tax credits which are really difficult to understand. She helps me read and understand my telephone bills, my gas bills, my insurance and my statements from the bank. She has helped me set up direct debits so I can pay my bills and not get into debt. I used to not get any support at home, I struggled a lot, but this help has made a real difference.
I know how important the support I have had has been in allowing me to be independent. I am worried that there are people worse off than me who don’t get any support at all and worry about what happens to them. The government need to make sure people with a learning disability and their families get the right support.