Disability Wales’ has provided its first impressions of the potential impact of today’s budget announcements on disabled people.
This budget appears to be largely targeted at supporting people who are in work but on low incomes. One good thing is that there is no intention to make further welfare ‘savings’. However, there are no plans to reverse or address the damaging cuts and system of sanctions for those currently on other benefits such as ESA. The UK Government Green Paper ‘Improving Lives’ will most likely make recommendations addressing that. We will be supporting members to engage with this consultation. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/work-health-and-disability-improving-lives
A change to Universal Credit to allow low earners to keep more of their income over the threshold is also good news for disabled people in low paid work.
Other key points:
- Personal allowance is being raised from £11,000 to £11,500, which is especially important for low earners such as disabled people who work part time to manage health conditions or due to lack of access to the workplace and suitable employment.
- Increase in National Living Wage across all age brackets (from £7.20 to £7.50 for the over 25s).
- Universal credit taper reduced from 65% to 63% meaning that people will keep more of their benefits if they earn over the income threshold e.g. a disabled person receiving support with their housing costs and earning £12,000 a year will benefit by £180 a year.
- Ban on letting agents charging fees to people renting (in England). This will get rid of the upfront costs that prevent people moving to more suitable accommodation and thus getting trapped in substandard housing, but we could see the costs shifted onto higher rents.
- Investment in transport infrastructure and affordable housing. More money is to be given to Wales (£400m) for infrastructure investment. Although this doesn’t mention potential benefits to disabled people, opportunities could exist to lobby Welsh Government for investment in accessible transport and housing.
No doubt there will be more discussion in the next few days and we’ll provide an update next week. What are your thoughts on the Chancellor’s Autumn budget statement?