Half a million disabled hit by Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reform, says Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson inquiry

The changes could make it harder for disabled people to remain in work, claims inquiry led by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson

Up to half a million disabled people and their families will be worse off if Iain Duncan Smith's flagship proposals for a universal credit for benefit claimants go ahead, according to an inquiry led by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Cuts to child disability payments and to support for the most severely disabled are likely to result in people struggling to pay for essentials such as food and heating, says the report which is backed by The Children's Society, Citizens Advice and Disability Rights UK.

Many disabled people who are already finding it difficult to make ends meet face further hardship under the new benefit system, it adds.

The report warns that up to 230,000 severely disabled people who do not have another adult to assist them will get between £28 and £58 less in support every week. It also reveals that 100,000 disabled children stand to lose up to £28 a week, while 116,000 disabled people who work risk losing up to £40 per week from payments towards additional costs of being disabled.

Universal Credit is a new benefits system set to replace a number of key current benefits, including some Income Support; Income based Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits.

It is due to come into place in October 2013 and aims to simplify the benefits system and to improve the incentives for people to find work.

More than eight out of 10 (83 per cent) of disabled adults living alone or with a young carer said they would cut back on food and 80 per cent said they would cut back on the amount they spend on heating.

Although Universal Credit was intended to create more incentives for people to work, the inquiry concluded that the changes could make it harder for disabled people to remain in work.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said: "The findings of this report do not make easy reading. The clear message is that many households with disabled people are already struggling to keep their heads above water. Reducing support for families with disabled children, disabled people who are living alone, families with young carers and disabled people in work, risk driving many over the edge in future."

Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children's Society, said: "While it is true that some people will be better off under Universal Credit, it is shocking that so many disabled people – including children – will have to cut back on food, specialist equipment and, in some cases, be forced to move out of their homes or consider moving their child into full time residential care."

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions accused the inquiry of producing a "highly selective" report which "could result in irresponsible scaremongering". He said: "Our reforms will create a simpler and fairer system with aligned levels of support for adults and children."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

    Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

    Sheridan Maine: Financial Accountant

    £150 - £190 Daily Rate: Sheridan Maine: One of London's leading water supplier...

    Sheridan Maine: Portfolio Accountant

    £30,000 - £35,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a Management Accountant with...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor