Cuts ‘targeted’ at poor and disabled people

The government's public spending cuts are targeted at people in poverty and at disabled people, according to think-tank analysis. It accuses the government of having made no effort to understand the cumulative impact of the cuts on minority groups, especially those with the greatest needs.

Key points

  • The government is aiming at an overall cut in public spending of £63.4 billion by 2015, or 10.8 per cent. But in fact not everything is being cut, with spending on the NHS and pensions protected. If areas of growth and protected services are excluded, the cuts actually come to £75.2 billion in total.
  • Of these cuts, over half fall on just two areas, benefits and local government – despite the fact they make up only around a quarter of central government spending. Local government's primary function (over 60 per cent of its spending) is to provide social care to children and adults. In other words, the cuts are not fair but targeted – at people in poverty, and at disabled people and their families.
  • Taking the combined impact of the cuts, people in poverty (21 per cent of the population) bear 39 per cent of all cuts; disabled people (8 per cent) bear 29 per cent of all cuts; and people with the severest disabilities (2 per cent) bear 15 per cent of all cuts.
  • The unfairness of this policy is even clearer from a comparison of the burden per person in absolute terms. People in poverty will be worse of by an average of £2,195 per person per year, in terms of lost benefits and services – this is five times more than the burden placed on most other citizens. Disabled people will lose an average of £4,410 per person (nine times more than others). People with severe disabilities will lose an average of £8,832 (19 times more than others).
  • The government seems to have made no effort to understand the cumulative impact of its cuts on minority groups, especially those with the greatest needs. It has rejected calls for a ‘cumulative impact assessment’ of the cuts, despite the obvious fact that those with the most severe disabilities now face the combined impact of: social care cuts, benefit cuts, housing cuts and regressive tax increases.

Source: Simon Duffy, A Fair Society? How the Cuts Target Disabled People, Centre for Welfare Reform 
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