The Disability Union
Thursday’s budget was promised to deliver to the country, but for the disabled and care communities, it failed to action anything, in fact, things are looking to remain static, underfunded, and indeed worse. This lack of will to help those who need it will darken the lives of 14 million disabled adults, over 1 million disabled children, and an army of carers which grows every day by 6000 more people.
Rishi Sunak promised extra money for social care to local governments, but it was not ring-fenced meaning that social care programs will still be stretched to breaking point across council services. Social care is a pivotal life-support program for both communities who deserve and equally need social care day-to-day.
For disabled families, universal credit received no uplift and as inflation and fuel prices rise, the worry is that any apparent tax cuts granted will be eaten up in bills as families are pushed further in debt as winter approaches. Carers allowance remains unchanged and as more people need longer care due to the effects of long covid, this is a perplexing and offensive omission to millions of families. Also, there was no mention of people on legacy benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) There are Around 1.9 million sick and disabled people on legacy benefits who did not receive any more money during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Nor did carers, all they received was a tiny increase in their social security payments, and a rise of just 30p a week to their carers allowance.
All this makes for grim and ableist reading. The disabled and care communities are once again seeing themselves as collateral to the system. The one thing they can take away from the budget is how discriminative it is and how again those on low incomes, with little money are always seen as the ones to have to pay more. We are tired of the stereotypes and prejudices, we are tired of being in poverty and trying to ask for a better quality of life.
The Government recently announced its leveling up paper for disabled people which the Disability Union, its members, and countrywide campaigners complained bitterly about as the consultation process that informed it was seriously flawed. Producing a strategy for disabled people without proper engagement is unacceptable, ignorant, and takes the last remaining piece of power away from disabled people, their voices.
Along with the much flawed and delayed paper on the government disability strategy, the UN is preparing to do another investigation into the Governments violations and abuses of disabled peoples’ human rights here in the UK. The last UN report highlighted the“great misery” inflicted on disabled people and other marginalised groups and now after the budget, it looks as if those with a disability and those who care for them will no doubt see this next report being even more condemning than the first.
In short, this was a budget of exclusion, disability prejudice, and missed opportunity to understand the real lives and issues of families across the country. This is a national tragedy as groups such as the Disability Union have time and time again offered their experience and time to help work with the system and push through better and fairer benefits for people who have equal rights just like everybody else. The future remains a challenging and dark place for carers and disabled people and we need to be allowed to voice our concerns, it’s a human right.
The budget just reinforced the nationwide narrative that we are not worthy to support. That is condemning and the long-term effects of no action are hard to contemplate in a supposed first-world country.