“Disappointing” budget fails to mention funding for disabled people and social care
Key figures from national disability charity Leonard Cheshire, Age UK and the Care and Support Alliance have expressed their dismay at the lack of support for disabled people and social care from yesterday’s budget announcement.
Presented by Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday to Parliament, the 2021 Budget details plans to aid the UK’s economic recovery.
Notable announcements include extending the furlough scheme until the end of September 2021 and a £1.65 billion cash boost to ensure the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in England continues to be a success.
Whilst the announcement provided some reassurance in terms of business support, the chancellor failed to mention any new policies for disabled people or social care.
Commenting on the 2021 Budget, Gemma Hope, Director of Policy at Leonard Cheshire, said: “It is positive that the Chancellor has recognised that the pandemic’s impact on the jobs market is going to be felt for some time yet.
“However, disabled people need a long-term solution, not just a stopgap, and it’s disappointing that once again they have been left out of the government’s offer. We cannot be said to be levelling up the country if inequalities are widening for disabled people.
“We found that seven in ten disabled people had seen their work negatively impacted by the pandemic. But the barriers facing disabled employees and jobseekers are structural – they won’t disappear when the current crisis ends.
“Disabled people should be able to expect fairness and equality in work, starting with a disability inclusive recovery plan from the government. This would involve specialised support for disabled people hoping to enter work, and extend eligibility for key programs like Kickstart to help more people at risk of long-term unemployment.
“We also need to see the gaps in our social care system addressed. Many working aged disabled adults need social care in order to work.”
She added that the UK Government must start planning for the longer term to end disability discrimination in employment.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, also expressed her disappointment over failures to invest in social care. She says might cause an increase in small care companies closing over the next few months, leading to more pent-up demand on the already overstretched social care system.
“We are deeply disappointed that no immediate or longer term support for social care, so badly battered by the pandemic, was announced in the Budget,” she said. “Experts have been warning about the sustainability of many smaller care companies for some time and unfortunately the Chancellor spurned this opportunity to give them a helping hand. The result may well be an upsurge in closures over the next few months, putting more stress and strain on older and disabled people & their unpaid carers, who have already endured so much.
“We and many others will also be seeking assurances that the lack of any mention of longer term care refinancing and reform does not reflect an intention on the part of this Government to renege on its repeated promise to ‘fix’ care by bringing forward concrete proposals later in the year.”