Scottish disability NGO urges PM to keep benefits link to inflation

By staff writers
8 Jan 2013

Disability charity Capability Scotland urged the UK government to change its plans to cut welfare ahead of the Westminster benefits uprating debate today (8 January 2013).

The Scottish NGO wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg expressing deep concern about plans to restrict benefit increases below inflation.

The disability charity is one of a number of organisations from across the UK who have set out similar concerns.

The UK government's proposals will see the majority of working age welfare benefits only increasing by one per cent a year until April 2015.

In real terms this means a cut in income for disabled people who rely on affected benefits such as Employment Support Allowance (ESA), critics point out.

Disability benefits including Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the disability elements of tax credits will continue to be up-rated in line with inflation.

However people on these benefits are already less well off due to a decision taken in 2011 to link benefit increases to the Consumer Price Index rather that the higher Retail Price Index (which they were based on previously).

Capability Scotland, director of External Affairs, Richard Hamer, commented: “Capping benefit rises below inflation is a backwards step for a UK Government which allegedly wants to encourage growth."

He added: "The exception for disability benefits does bring some relief for disabled people. However, it is little comfort to those who fear losing out on benefits altogether when Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP).”

Capability Scotland campaigns with, and provides education, employment and care services for, disabled children and adults across the country.

* Capability Scotland: http://www.capability-scotland.org.uk/

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