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By Debbie le Quesne

Disabled charity takes a swipe at the Budget

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Disability charity Scope has issued a stinging attack on this week’s Budget, saying there is “no place for disabled people” in the “aspiration nation.”

Wow – no punches pulled here.

In a website statement and reports in the national media, Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the charity says: “Disabled people want to live independently. But the support they need to get up, get dressed and get out and about is being squeezed due to chronic under-funding of social care.

“Neither the £72,000 cap on costs nor £118,000 means test will resolve the care crisis for disabled people, who make up a third of the people who use social care.

In the Budget speech Chancellor George Osborne reiterated plans to speed up the introduction on the cap of social care.

He also said that ministers plan to extend the means test for residential care costs from April 2016.

The cap on care costs, originally planned to be set at £75,000 and introduced in 2017, will now also be introduced in 2016 at a level of £72,000.

Mr Hawkes adds: “Disabled people want to be able to pay for essentials without turning to credit. But in 2013 they are struggling to make ends meet.

“Life costs more if you’re disabled and this is being compounded as living costs spiral and incomes flat-line. What’s the Government’s response? A squeeze on financial support, which means many disabled people, face not one, but two, three or four different cuts to vital support.  

“In this context it’s a frightening prospect that welfare could be capped in the June spending review – having already been slashed by billions.  Some people need benefits, get over it. It doesn’t make them a scrounger, it doesn’t make them work-shy and it doesn’t make them a lay-about.

“Surely an aspiration nation should be a place where disabled people can pay the bills and live independently?”

The Budget document says that the reforms should help an extra 100,000 people who would not receive any support under the current system.

Speaking in the Independent newspaper, Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK, added: “Whilst we welcome the earlier implementation of the care costs cap to April 2016, this will do nothing to help the 800,000 older people who need help with everyday tasks but receive no formal support.

“Since this Government came to power, in real terms £700 million has been cut from social care spending, mostly as a consequence of the slashing of local authorities budgets at a time when need is rising due to our ageing population.

“The Government must urgently address the spiralling crisis in social care by ensuring that every older person gets the help that they need when they need it.”

Will they get it? Will the disabled be helped? I have no confidence that funding will be made available to local authorities. We have a hard-line government with only one agenda: To cut.

Morally, those cuts trouble me. The care sector sees first-hand the daily toll those financial restraints are taking and yes, they are depriving our most vulnerable of quality of life.

I can’t recall too clearly, but wasn’t there something in the coalition manifesto about protecting the elderly and vulnerable? 

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Written by debbielq

March 21, 2013 at 8:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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