The UK government’s 2023 budget has just been announced, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt outlining a range of measures aimed at boosting the economy and addressing key issues such as housing, healthcare and climate change. From increased funding for mental health services to new tax breaks for businesses, the budget includes a wide range of policies that will impact individuals and organizations across the country. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key highlights from the budget and explore what they could mean for disabled people.
In previous posts we have discussed the Energy Price Cap and what it means for disabled people who’s energy bills are often a lot higher than average. In an attempt to help those struggling with the cost of living crisis the Government has said it will help “with a £2,500 Energy Price Guarantee, one-off support and the uprating of benefits with inflation”.
(taken from: Spring Budget 2023 speech – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk))
One of the other significant policy changes seen in the Spring Budget was to change the Work Capability Assessment process. Rather than needing two assessments, individuals who already getting a particular component of PIP (Personal Independent Payment) would automatically qualify them for the additional support without additional assessment.
The charity Sense says they welcome the plans to get more disabled people into work, highlighted in today’s budget. However, in their twitter thread they said they were concerned by what this policy actually means and how will it affect individuals. They welcome the ‘long overdue’ decision to reconsider the Work Capability Assessment for those who are already in receipt of PIP.
In the announcement the Government has said it is going to introduce a new voluntary employment scheme for disabled people, universal support, worth £4,000 for up to 50,000 people. And will introduce a 400m scheme to accelerate support for mental health and physical health to workers with health problems.
We asked The Disability Policy Centre who will be attending Disability Expo for a comment on the Government’s announcement. Here is what they had to say:
“We welcome some of the measures in the Spring Budget, in particular the Chancellor’s drive to ‘break down barriers in the workplace’ for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions. As he noted, half of the current vacancies in the economy could be filled by disabled people who would like to work, but due to an inaccessible workplace, currently cannot. We agree with his statement that with flexible and remote working, there is no real reason why we cannot create a truly inclusive work environment for disabled people. We also welcome the fact that the Government has finally recognised that we have a welfare state that instills fear amongst disabled people, and ultimately hinders, not helps someone’s ability to seek meaningful work, should they wish. We also welcome the initial indication that is being given, that disabled people will not receive any sanctions, which was something that has been feared in recent days and weeks.The Disability Policy Centre
The Chancellor spoke about a £3 million pilot expansion of the supported internship scheme for SEND pupils, which we look forward to seeing the progress of. There was also talk about increasing participation in Further and Higher Education. Disabled Students are under-represented in these sectors, and more likely to drop out than their peers. We would encourage the Government to include specific participation schemes for disabled students in these measures.
With energy bills, we welcome the fact that the Energy Price Guarantee will remain until July, but ultimately a long-term policy solution is needed for disabled people, who use much more energy on average, and therefore face higher costs, than non-disabled people. It is not fair that someone is financially worse off because of their disability, which is unfortunately the current economic climate that we live in today.
Ultimately, we welcome the efforts made to break down barriers for disabled people, and we look forward to monitoring progress.”
Attending the Disability Expo can provide a wealth of information and resources for people with disabilities. With a wide range of exhibitors, attendees can learn about the latest technology, products, and services designed specifically for their needs. In addition, the Expo offers opportunities to connect with advocacy organizations and support groups, as well as attend informative seminars and workshops. By attending the Disability Expo, individuals can gain valuable knowledge and tools that can help them live more independently and improve their quality of life. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to connect with others in the disability community and access vital information and resources.