The budget announcement by Chancellor George Osborne does little to allay concerns about cuts to frontline services, Mencap’s head of campaigns and policy David Congdon, has said.
The budget made little reference to learning disabilities – or social care in general – meaning many fears about continuing cuts to frontline services remain. In his statement, Congdon warned that further cuts would harm people’s ability to live independently if they continued to impact upon frontline services: “The Budget… does little to ease our concerns about the future of frontline services.
Although the government has said that these services should be protected, we know that local authorities are already cutting vital care and support for people with a learning disability. We regularly receive calls from people with a learning disability and their families who feel terrified about the cuts and the impact it will have on their lives. “People with a disability are feeling the brunt of government cuts, everything from social care and employment benefits to housing support.
The £250 million will be some support for first-time buyers but where is the funding to support the vulnerable people who have already experienced severe cuts to housing benefits? People with a learning disability are being pushed further into poverty with even less opportunity to live independently. “These vital frontline services and housing benefits are not a luxury for people with a learning disability, they are a lifeline.” However, there was some partially good news for those in care homes.
The Chancellor confirmed that the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) will no longer be removed in October 2012, but will now be reviewed as part of wider DLA reforms from 2013.