A new report by the thinktank Demos, funded by the charity Scope and the Barrow Cadbury Trust, argues that the government’s new ‘work capacity test’ will mean that half a million disabled people lose £4.87bn in benefits over the next five years.
The UK’s 7 million disabled people experience entrenched inequality and disadvantage, in the form of poorer educational attainment, lower employment and earnings potential, and restricted access to good and services. Far more disabled people live in poverty than the rest of the population and as a result they are more reliant on benefits for their income.
This pamphlet examines the reforms to welfare benefits announced in the Emergency Budget and in the forthcoming Spending Review and concludes that the impact on disabled people has not been fully considered. Rather than simply incentivising work, cutting benefits will have unintended consequences on households where finding and keeping work is only achievable with personalised welfare to work support. Through original analysis, Destination Unknown estimates that the losses in income over the course of this Parliament will amount to over £9 billion.
The pamphlet presents alternative reforms designed to introduce a greater focus on capability-building and supporting the move into employment. These would render the Government’s welfare reform strategy more inclusive and appropriate for disabled people, more effective in achieving sustainable employment and social engagement, and will mitigate some of the very worst effects of these reforms.
You can download the report from the publications page of our website, or by going to http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/destinationunknowndisability
The report was referenced by the Observer newspaper on 10 October 2010 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/oct/10/benefit-cuts-fairness-george-osborne