Livability’s response to the Budget 2015
The Budget was announced on Wednesday (18th March) by the Chancellor George Osborne. A number of announcements were made which will impact disabled and disadvantaged people (for a comprehensive list, please the briefing produced by Disability Rights UK, which Livability is a member of: http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2015/march/budget-2015)
In particular, Livability is pleased to see the Government commit to the following:
- Ensure greater commitment to support people with mental health conditions including the announcement of an additional £1.25bn investment package and also dedicated funds to provide mental health services / therapies for children and mothers during the pre and post natal period.
- Improve home care for the elderly so that they can stay in their homes for longer.
- Talking Buses: to continue working with Transport Systems Catapult and Industry to develop a solution to ensure bus travel remains accessible to blind and deaf users.
- No rise in fuel duty: the postponed rise will benefit all car drivers including disabled people who may regularly use cars to travel round.
- Intelligent mobility: £100m investment into the research and development of intelligent mobility with a focus on the development of driverless cars-potentially improving the lives of all including disabled people.
Stephen Springer MBE, Lead Service User Involvement Officer said:
‘The Government’s decision to increase investment into various mental health services is very welcome, as this has become an increasingly important area of our work. Similarly, the commitment to making transport more accessible for disabled people is heartening, as this is constantly a key issue for those across our various services. It would have been good to see some mention of increased SEN funding to address the apparent post code lottery that hasdeveloped since the introduction of the Children & Families Act. However given the unfair* impact on disabled people of the “ Austerity” cuts imposed over the past five years there must be concern about the introduction of a welfare cap as this suggests, potentially more cuts to the most vulnerable groups. The quest for £12 billion reduction in unspecified Welfare savings does not bode well.’
*Research by The Centre for Welfare Reform demonstrates that 39% of the cuts imposed in this parliament have been borne by disabled people who make up 8% of the population.