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Baroness Grey-Thompson to launch inquiry into disability and Universal Credit - Turn2us

Citizens Advice press release (link opens in a new window)Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is to launch an inquiry into Universal Credit and disability. This follows the publication of a report, Disability and Universal Credit, by three charities - Citizens Advice, Disability Rights UK and The Children's Society - that shows that tens of thousands of adults and children with disabilities will be much worse off as a result of the welfare reform changes which will take effect next year.

The three charities voice their concern that the scale of cuts in support for some groups of disabled people – including children – has not been properly understood because the changes have been viewed in isolation.

The report looks at the impact on disabled people of the switch from the current complex array of means-tested benefits to a single Universal Credit payment, due to take place in October 2013. It shows that while some disabled people will gain from the changes, tens of thousands will get very much less help than they do now. It examines a number of different scenarios that illustrate the impact of the combined reforms on disabled children, adults and their families.

Key findings

  • Halving support for children with disabilities will push many families below the poverty line, resulting in a loss of £1,400 per year for some families
  • Young carer families could lose up to £70 per week or £3,500 per year in support. Children of an estimated 25,000 lone parents with disabilities will be under greater pressure to care for them as a result of this cut in their financial support under the new system
  • Couples where both partners have disabilities – for example with cerebral palsy - will in many cases lose more than £100 a week under the new system – even if one of them is working.
  • There is a real risk that some single people with disabilities living alone and working could end up homeless due to the combined impact of cuts to in-work support and Housing Benefit
  • A person with disabilities who uses a manual wheelchair and can self-propel this 50 metres will be treated as non-disabled and will no longer qualify for any extra support under Universal Credit
  • Pensioners with a seriously ill working age partner – for example someone with Parkinson's who has had to give up work - could lose nearly £100 a week.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson to launch inquiry

Former Paralympian and disability campaigner, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (link opens in a new window), is today launching an inquiry into support available for people with disabilities under Universal Credit in order to find out more about how they will be affected by the changes. She will be taking evidence in person from families who understand from their own personal experience of living with a disability what the likely practical impact of the changes will be. She will also be taking evidence through a survey of households with people affected by disabilities.

In her foreword to the report Baroness Grey-Thompson says:

"The Government argues that the reforms they propose are designed to improve the system in a way which protects the most vulnerable and redirects support to those who need it most. But under the new system, financial support for some groups of disabled people will be much lower than current support available for people in the same circumstances. Cuts - such as those to support for most disabled children, and disabled adults living alone - are going to make the future considerably bleaker for many of the most disadvantaged households in Britain.”

She is urging all disabled people, parents of disabled children, and carers to complete an online questionnaire on the Citizens Advice website (link opens in a new window)    

The inquiry findings and recommendations are expected to be published in October.

Read the Citizens Advice press release (link opens in a new window)

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