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£5 billion drop in disability benefit spending over decade revealed | UNITE Magazine

New figures revealed by MP Frank Field have shown that government spending on welfare has shrunk by almost a quarter over the last decade of austerity.

Projections made in relation to the figures, reported on Sunday by the Guardian, show that by 2021, if continuing on the current trajectory, a staggering £37 billion less will be spent on working-age social security in comparison to 2010 – despite the cost of living and the retail price index having risen.

A study on poverty in the UK published last week also showed that more than half of families living in poverty have a disabled person living with them, and disabled people facing additional monthly outgoings of £570 related to their impairments, per a Scope report.

Among the hardest hit in cuts were disability benefits, including PIP and ESA, which together were cut by £5bn – around 10% – since the beginning of the decade.

The Guardian’s report also revealed cuts to tax credits (£4.6bn), Universal Credit (£3.6bn), child benefits (£3.4bn), disability benefits (£2.8bn), ESA and incapacity benefit (£2bn) and housing benefits (£2.3bn).

Citing the cuts as the reason for the sharp rise in foodbank usage: “A £37 billion attack has been mounted on the living standards of many of our fellow citizens to such an extent that possibly millions struggle to keep on top of their rent, pay the bills and buy adequate food.”

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said: “These new figures once again highlight that those hardest hit by austerity have been disabled people and that this has been a deliberate result of Government policy.

“PIP was openly stated to be designed to reduce disability benefit spending by 20%. ESA has been reduced by around £30 per week for many new claimants since April 2107. Universal Credit also excludes the severe disability premium worth around £65 per week to those formerly entitled to it.

“All this when it is well known that disabled people have extra costs due to their disability”

A Government spokesperson told the Guardian: “We want our welfare system to provide a strong safety net while being fair and sustainable for the future. That’s why we spend around £90bn a year helping those that need it, including people out of work or on a low income.

“But we are also committed to supporting people into work – the best way to lift people out of poverty. Since 2010, we have seen over 3 million more people find work and the number of workless households is at the lowest level since comparable records began.”

Image: Flickr/Andy Orin

 

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