George Osborne has announced that the government will be making changes to the disability budget, but that spending overall will rise.
The Chancellor said that the budget would increase by more than £1 billion, despite the government announcing last week that cuts would be made to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
The cuts are set to reduce the benefit by £30 a week to £73 for some disabled people in the work-related activity group.
It was also announced that changes would be made to Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
Reforming PIP is expected to save £1.2 billion but affect more than 640,000 people.
While delivering the Budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Osborne said the Conservative government would spend more in real terms on disability payments than any Labour administration.
Opening his statement on welfare, he said: “We will continue to deliver sensible reforms to keep Britain living within its means."
“On welfare, last week … the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions set out changes that will ensure within the rising disability budget, support is better targeted at those who need it most."
George Osborne 2016 budget at a glance
George Osborne 2016 budget at a glance
1/8 Debt forecasts up, growth forecasts down
The OBR’s new forecasts have downgraded growth in all of the next five years to 2020. The watchdog says the economy will only grow by 2 per cent in 2016, as opposed to the anticipated 2.4 per cent. Borrowing and productivity growth are also down – with forecast borrowing in 2018-198 £16 billion higher
2/8 New tax on sugary drinks
The Chancellor announced a new tax on sugary soft drinks, which is projected to raise £520 million. At least some of the money will be spent on doubling funding for school sport, the Chancellor says. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the levy
3/8 Tax cut for higher earners paying the 40p rate
The Chancellor has raised the threshold for paying the higher rate of income tax to £45,000. The higher rate is paid by roughly the richest 15 per cent, currently people earning over £42,386
4/8 Increase in tax-free income tax threshold
The tax-free allowance increase to £11,500 in April 2017 – up from £10,600 now. The Chancellor previously raised the allowance from £6,475 in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The Conservative manifesto pledges to put the allowance up to £12,500 by the end of the Parliament
5/8 New devolution for counties and powers for London and Manchester
The West of England, the East of England and Greater Lincolnshire will all get elected mayor-led combined authorities with new powers. The Chancellor says they are backed by £1 billion new funding. Greater Manchester will get new powers of criminal justice while London will keep its business rates – giving whoever is elected Mayor a lot more spending power
6/8 Fuel duty frozen for sixth year running
The Chancellor had planned to end the fuel duty freeze he had put in place for the whole previous parliament. In the event, he has announced a freeze for another year
7/8 All schools to become academies
As reported yesterday the Chancellor unveiled legislation to turn all schools into academies. He said all schools would either be academies or on their way to being academies by 2020, and that funding had been set aside to fund the change
8/8 Lifetime ISA
The Chancellor announced a new savings account to encourage under-40s to save for retirement – for every £4 saved, the Government will top this up by £1 up to the value of £4,000 a year. Tax-free ISAs will also be increased from £15,000 to £20,000
But Mr Osborne's comments sparked outrage. Green MP Caroline Lucas accused him of "hypocrisy".
She tweeted: “Breathtaking hypocrisy from Chancellor – talks about support for disabled people having slashed disability benefits."
One Twitter user said, in response to Mr Osborne, that "disability shouldn't be measured by a yardstick".
Mark Atkinson, the chief executive of disability charity Scope, said the Mr Osborne had confirmed benefit changes that would make "many disabled people's lives harder".
"Life costs more if you are disable... Half of disabled people say that they have struggled to pay the bills because of the extra costs of disability that they face."
Mr Atkinson urged the Chancellor to "think again and consider the impact these moves have on the lives of disabled people".
On 11 March, the Department of Work and Pensions said changes to PIP would ensure the system was fairer.
Justin Tomlinson, the minister for disabled people, said: "The introduction of Personal Independence Payment to replace the outdated Disability Living Allowance for working age claimants has been a hugely positive reform."
"But it is clear that the assessment criteria for aids and appliances are not working as planned," he said.
"Many people are eligible for a weekly award despite having minimal to no extra costs and judicial decisions have expanded the criteria for aids and appliances to include items we would expect people to have in their homes already."Reuse content