Savage cuts to social benefits have shredded the welfare “safety net” and left many disabled families in a “struggle for survival”, according to a detailed study of the impact of the government’s austerity programme. It calculates that disabled people and their carers have seen their income collectively cut by £500m in the past two years, leaving many increasingly financially impoverished, socially isolated, and at risk of declining mental health.
Many disabled people’s quality of life will continue to deteriorate over the next three years, warns the study, as a further £9bn of predicted cuts to disability support are rolled out and local authority social care budgets shrink further. “Although nearly everyone faces tough times in this current economic climate, disabled people are hit particularly hard as a result of lower income, higher costs, fewer support services and unpredictable health conditions,” the report, published by the thinktank Demos and Scope, the disability charity.
The study has followed the fortunes of six households, including two families with disabled children, since June 2010. It combined regular interviews with a study of the impact on each household of benefit changes, pension reforms, social care cuts and fuel price increases.
22nd June 2012