For much of his first term, United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron targeted the country’s disability benefits programs as part of his push to cut government spending.
So when Prime Minister Cameron’s Conservative Government rode to a reelection in May, promising 12 billion pounds in additional cuts from the country’s welfare budget, many disability advocates braced for further cuts.
On July 8, Secretary of State unveiled the Tory’s first budget of the new term. The plan includes the promised 12 billion pounds in cuts to the welfare budget, spread over four years, but only minor changes to benefits aimed directly at supporting people with disabilities.
The budget does not make any new changes to the Personal Independence Payments system, despite speculation the benefits could start being taxed or means-tested. The PIP, the country’s primary system for people unable to work due to their disabilities, was launched in 2013 to replace the former Disability Living Allowances program.
However, the budget aims to reduce Employment and Support Allowances by 30 pounds per week, which assist people unable to work full time, including a great number of people with disabilities.
Along with the change from the DLA to the PIP, Prime Minister Cameron angered many disability advocates during his first term with the imposition of the so-called bedroom tax. The measure reduced housing benefits to people whose homes were deemed to have two or more spare bedrooms.
Disability advocates argue the tax unfairly discriminates against people with disabilities, many of whom need the additional rooms to accommodate their physical limitations.