A new report published today (22 October 2012) exposes the impact of the Westminster Government’s proposed welfare cuts on disabled people.
The Hardest Hit, a coalition of over 90 disabled people's organisations and charities, produced the report 'The Tipping Point' which brings together a survey of over 4,500 disabled people, a poll of more than 350 independent welfare advisors, and more than 50 in-depth interviews with disabled people with varying conditions and impairments.
The report reveals some shocking statistics.
Of those who responded from Wales:
- Nearly all (97%) said losing their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) would be bad for their health;
- More than nine in ten (92.3%) said losing DLA would make them isolated;
- Nine in ten (89.6%) said losing their DLA would mean relying on friends and carers more;
- Three-quarters (74.6%) are worried that they won’t qualify for the new Personal Independence Payment, which is due to replace DLA from April 2013;
Across the UK an estimated 500,000 disabled people are expected to lose out from the change.
As well as the devastating impact on individuals, the change is likely to have a significant impact on local authorities.
Only one fifth (20.6%) of respondents currently receive social care from their local authority, but three-quarters (72.7%) said losing their DLA would mean relying on local authorities for more social care.
Ceri Jackson, co-chair of the Hardest Hit steering group in Wales, said:
“Disabled people are already twice as likely to live in poverty; any further cuts to the support that they receive will only serve to push some of those most vulnerable in our society into further hardship, dept and isolation.
“The Chancellor recently announced a further £10 billion cut to the welfare budget.
“With £9 billion already having been removed from disability benefits and services in this Parliament, many disabled people now find themselves at a ‘tipping point’, where the loss of even the smallest amount of income will tip their lives into greater dependence and poverty.
“We would urge the Westminster Government to learn from the mistakes made over Employment Support Allowance and ensure the assessment for PIP is as clear and fair as possible.
"They must also rule out targeting disabled people for further spending cuts in the next Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review.”
Age Cymru supports the Hardest Hit campaign.