Disabled people risk losing a total of £28.3 billion in income support by 2018 as a result of benefit cuts introduced by the coalition government, according to a new analysis from the Demos think tank. As many as 3.7 million disabled people overall will be affected.
- Disabled people as a group will be hit by up to 13 different measures, including some that are disability-related (such as cuts in incapacity benefit and the abolition of the Independent Living Fund) and some that affect other groups too (such as cuts to child benefit and housing benefit).
- All disabled people – 3.7 million in total – will be hit by the 1 per cent limit on the uprating of most benefits, for three years from 2013-14. This measure also accounts for the largest financial loss, of £9 billion by 2018.
- The next biggest loss, of £5.6 billion, comes from changes to incapacity benefit, affecting 608,000 disabled people.
- Another £4.4 billion will be lost as a result of cuts in employment and support allowance, hitting 700,000.
- These individual impacts, however, miss out a crucial feature of the cuts, Demos emphasises. This is because the same sub-groups may be hit by more than one measure, creating a cumulative loss of income that is not obvious from official 'impact assessments'. In fact Demos describes these assessments as 'useless' – or even worse than useless, because of the way they give a false impression of knowledge.
- 120,000 disabled people will experience some form of triple cut, and 99,000 will have a quadruple cut. At best, these represent a loss of £6,309 per person by 2017. For those unfortunate enough to lose their disability living allowance early on, and who also claim contributory employment and support allowance, the combined impact of changes in these benefits and the uprating cap will be a £23,461 loss by 2017.
- At the extreme end of the scale, between 1,000 and 5,000 disabled people will experience six separate cuts to their benefits income by 2018, leaving them £23,300 worse off per person – this derives from the loss of all benefits recognising their disability (employment and support allowance, and disability living allowance), and a substantial reduction in housing benefit.
Source: Destination Unknown: April 2013, Demos
Links: Summary and links to tables | Demos press release | Scope press release | Guardian report