Last week, the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced his much anticipated plan to tackle the economic crisis, which he blamed on the war in Ukraine and the effects of the Covid pandemic.
It is already clear that economic difficulties have a particularly stark impact on vulnerable people, including people on low income, pensioners, and people with disabilities.
In his statement, the Chancellor confirmed that benefits (alongside state pension and tax credits) will rise by 10%, in line with September’s inflation, starting from April 2023. Moreover, it was announced that the National Living Wage will be increased from £9.50 an hour to £10.42 for people over 23.
On the energy crisis, Jeremy Hunt announced that help for energy bills will be extended after April 2023, but it will be more limited compared to the current £400 aid in place for every household in the country. There will also be targeted support for people on low incomes, people with disabilities, and pensioners. More than eight million households on means-tested benefits will receive a cost-of-living payment of £900 in instalments, with £300 to pensioners and £150 for people on disability benefits.
The Chancellor’s statement confirms that much more must be done to help people with disabilities. It is unclear why people on disability benefits will only get £150 to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, compared to people on means-tested benefits, who will receive £900.
Charities from all over the country have described this plan as inefficient, and said it is unable to successfully support people with disabilities. In line with other organisations, Epilepsy Action believes £150 is not a sufficient help for those who are already taking drastic measure to make ends meet for the cost-of-living crisis.
Daniel Jennings, Senior Policy and Campaigns officer reacted to the budget announcement: “Disabled people are being disproportionately affected by the cost-of-living crisis. Whilst we are pleased that the government have confirmed benefits will increase in line with inflation, many people with epilepsy cannot wait until next year for this to happen.
The extra costs faced by disabled people added to £538 a month even before the crisis began and so it is unacceptable that once again people with epilepsy on PIP will receive only £150 compared to the £900 for households on other benefits.”
At Epilepsy Action, we continue advocating for better employment, more welfare and healthcare support for people affected by epilepsy.
For more information about what we are doing and how to support us, please visit our campaigns page.