EXCLUSIVE: The Government cut Discretionary Housing Payments in the 2012 Autumn Statement

The Ministerial statement and widely reported U-turn on the Bedroom Tax does nothing to alleviate concern about the impact of the Bedroom Tax on disabled people.

Couples where one individual has to sleep in a hospital bed and the couple cannot share a room will be penalised for having an “extra” bedroom.

The bedroom tax, due to be implemented in April, will penalise households in social housing deemed to have more bedrooms than they require. About 670,000 households will face a 14% cut in housing benefit for the first bedroom deemed surplus to requirements and 25% for two or more bedrooms. The government estimates the average household affected will lose £14 a week (Source: Guardian).

The Government seems to say that everything is fine because disabled people will be able to apply for discretionary housing payment from their local council and any shortfalls will be addressed – everything is hunky dory. WRONG!

On Page 68 of the 2012 Autumn Statement, the Government makes a positive move to exempt people in supported accommodation from the bedroom tax but they pay for it using money allocated for Discretionary Housing Payments!

DHP Cut in 2012 Autumn Statement

That’s a £15 million reduction in Discretionary Housing Payments up to 2017 and front loaded so that £10 million is taken out in the first two years!!!

However, DHP is a funding pot that people have to apply for every year, it is non-statutory and if it runs out, that is it. Reducing it is concerning and makes the future uncertain for disabled people.

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Holes in the safety net: The impact of Universal Credit on disabled people and their families

Towards the latter end of 2012, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson launched an inquiry looking into the introduction of Universal Credit as part of the Government’s wider welfare reforms. The graph below shows the devastating impact that their reforms will have on families with disabled children.

Universal Credit impact on families with disabled children

The graph above relates to the Universal Credit proposals, which will cut the level of support in half of the disability element of child tax credit. At present, families with a disabled child in receipt of some level of Disability Living Allowance may be entitled to this support. The report highlights that under the Government’s own estimates, this change will affect around 100,000 disabled children.

You can read the full inquiry document here – LINK

At the same time, this Tory Liberal Government is cutting taxes for the wealthy. We are clearly not all in this together.

Not so funny picture irony

(Picture Source: ConservativeHome)
(Picture Source: ConservativeHome)

Front page of today’s Daily Telegraph. Pictured in the corner is Vincent Kompany, captain of Manchester City Football Club, celebrating after his club won the Premier League championship last night. At the same time, the Tory supporting Telegraph report on the Tory Liberal Government’s attack on the most vulnerable in society with 500,000 set to lose out on disability benefits.

Fraud for the Disability Living Allowance is estimated to be in the region of 0.5%. However, the Government will cut funding for the Personal Independence Payment (which is the new disability benefit replacing the Disabiliy Living Allowance) by 20%. This simply means that disabled people will have less support.

FullFact.org  highlights the lack of media understanding on disability benefits for the most vulnerable in our society.

News of the Week: Ten weblinks from the week just gone, recommended by me.

In no particular order:
  1. A Vodafone tax bill worth £6 billion is waived by the Government, while George Osborn hints that an additional £4 billion can be saved from the welfare bill (This is Money LINK)
  2. Royal College of General Practitioners want to delay Con Dem NHS plans on GP Commissioning, hinting that they’re simply not ready
  3. Climate campaigners leave giant viagra pill outside Nick Clegg’s house, urging him to “get hard on climate change”
  4. Clegg sold out to get power, say voters
  5. Iain Duncan Smith “simply doesn’t recognise” Osborne’s welfare savings claim
  6. A lawsuit alleging a police cover-up of phone hacking has been launched by one of Scotland Yard’s own former senior officers, former Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick
  7. Public reject and are turned off by Lib Dem and Tory rhetoric that the current economic plight is Labour’s doing, and agree that it was the bankers at fault
  8. Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has voiced concerns about the possible effects of public spending cuts by the coalition government
  9. Police speak out against cuts to their service
  10. Lib Dem Councillor defects to Labour

Alan Milburn’s appointment is a great advert for Labour

There’s been a great deal of hoo haa over former Labour Party Minister Alan Milburn’s appointment this weekend as the Coalitions Government’s mobility Tsar. John Prescott has branded him a collaborator and Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has gone on record to say that Milburn should reconsider his position. Whilst I am disappointed with Frank Field’s and John Hutton’s appointments, I’ve come to a different conclusion with Milburn’s appointment.

The appointment represents an acknowledgement of the lack of talent in the Conservative and Lib Dem benches. David Cameron and Nick Clegg clearly do not have anyone within their own party ranks capable or possessing the right qualities to advise on social mobility.

It also signals a bitter blow to the think tank, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), founded by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, as the CSJ have been looking into the field of social mobility for years. A Labour politician being given the role disregards the work of the CSJ.

With all the cuts coming from this Government and the lack of investment in young people, his expertise can at least bring some progressive element into this Coalition Government who have done nothing but damage the prospects of young people so far.

The reason I have time for Alan Milburn is his approach to internships. Many MPs exploit the system and give young people internships to avoid paying them a wage, when in fact, they are carrying out roles with job descriptions to which there is a competitive recruitment process. For young people, there is no other route to break into Westminster and no alternative but to take the intern route into politics.

When in Parliament, Alan Milburn was one of the few that paid a national minimum wage to ‘interns’ and all MPs should follow suit.