Categories: AnalysisUK

Rishi Sunak’s budget abandoned millions of sick and disabled people

Support us and go ad-free

Rishi Sunak’s autumn budget made no mention of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) until the end. And when the chancellor did announce changes to social security as his grand finale, he threw millions of people off a financial cliff.

The autumn budget: Sunak’s Universal Credit admission

As Sunak tweeted, the Universal Credit taper rate:

withdraws support gradually as people work more hours. It is currently 63%, so for every extra £1 someone earns, their Universal Credit is reduced by 63p.

So, the chancellor has decided to cut the taper rate to 55p:

This will be cold comfort to countless families.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
3.8 million families still worse off

Around 5.5 million families were hit by the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit. So, over 3.6 million of them, including many sick and disabled people, are still worse off – because the changes to Universal Credit will only affect 1.9 million people. Moreover, as The Canary previously reported, the £20-a-week uplift was inadequate to begin with. With inflation continuing to rise, the value keeps diminishing.

Of course, the projected rate of inflation is set to rocket to 4.6% by April 2022 and energy costs are spiralling. Meanwhile, Sunak increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% won’t necessarily help the hundreds of thousands of families with self-employed workers who claim Universal Credit. Couple that with the re-introduction of the Minimum Income Floor (what Universal Credit thinks people should earn and then assumes they do, adjusting their payment accordingly up or down) and Sunak’s increase in the taper rate may well be of cold comfort. Plus, an increase in Universal Credit may well reduce people’s other benefits like Council Tax Relief, because it’s based on your net Universal Credit award (the higher that is, the less council tax help you get).

No support for sick and disabled people

Additionally, Sunak has so far done nothing for people on legacy benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Carer’s Allowance. As one Twitter user pointed out:

Around 1.9 million sick and disabled people on legacy benefits did not receive any more money during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Nor did many carers. All they got was a tiny increase in their social security payments.

But the government knows this. Moreover, its own analysis showed that with all the budget measures combined, the poorest people (including sick and disabled) would by no means benefit the most – despite the Universal Credit announcement:

Overall, the budget detailed a 1.3% real terms increase in the DWP budget. It also said the government would complete the rollout of Universal Credit by March 2025 – eight years later than planned. This coupled with the reduction in the taper rate perhaps shows how dire Universal Credit has become. The people who designed the system, including former DWP boss Iain Duncan Smith, predicted government savings – which have been marginal at best.

The government has also contradicted its own logic for why it cut the £20 uplift in the first place: that it was just for the “economic shock” of the pandemic. Clearly, it knows that the financial strain on families is still there – but is still only willing to make minute changes.

Millions left with just hot air

So, overall, Sunak’s grand finale to the budget of tinkering with Universal Credit won’t actually help at least 5.5 million families – many of them sick and disabled. Moreover, it’s just a continuation of a system that has been doomed to failure from the outset.

Of course, Sunak’s willingness to throw sick and disabled people over a financial cliff should not be a surprise. Previously, he made it explicitly clear that additional social security support during the pandemic was intentionally only for workers. But with the UN once again preparing to investigate the UK over sick and disabled people’s human rights, the chancellor intentionally making these people second-class citizens may not go unnoticed. For the time being, though, his budget was little more than hot air for some of the poorest people in the UK.

Featured image via Guardian News – YouTube

Support us and go ad-free
Steve Topple

Steve Topple is an independent journalist, broadcaster and publicist. He specialises in issues surrounding disability, health, housing, class, economics and government. ‘Mr Topple’ is also now making waves as an innovative music journalist, breaking the mould in terms of his approach to the industry. He regularly writes for one of the world’s leading music sites, Reggaeville, and is also in partnership with the blossoming Pauzeradio in the UK – offering competitive and professional publicist services. His music reviews have a reputation for being technically in-depth and unique in music journalism. Permanently based at the groundbreaking The Canary as a broadcaster and staff writer, he has frequently contributed to the Independent (having covered Prime Minister’s Questions on a weekly basis for them), New Internationalist, the CommonSpace, Morning Star, openDemocracy, Red Pepper, Occupy and INSURGEIntel. He can be seen/heard as a regular commentator on RTUK, Al Jazeera and talkRadio, and has appeared on the BBC political comedy show The Mash Report. He launched the Topple Galloway Show with renowned politician George Galloway on Patreon in 2018, and is a regular news reviewer for Going Underground. Currently, he has also branched out into medical and science investigatory journalism, having direct personal experience of this with his partner Nicola Jeffery. Follow him on social media @MrTopple

Published by
Steve Topple
Tags: budget 2021Conservative partydisabilityDWPmoneyRishi Sunakuniversal creditwelfare

Recent Posts

  • Cartoons
  • UK

The unreported crisis

2 hours ago
  • Global
  • Trending

Twitter locked a political party’s account for sharing the truth about vaccines

Twitter has locked a registered political party's account. It's over a tweet the party posted on coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines. And…

2 hours ago
  • Feature
  • UK

Will the Plaid Cymru/Labour deal be a reflection of ‘The Welsh Way’?

Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour have made a three-year "cooperation agreement" to govern Wales. Having fallen just one seat short…

3 hours ago
  • Opinion
  • UK

The ‘ongoing blatant illegal hunting’ of stags is still happening now

"The cruelty is clear; the animal is heaving and gasping for breath," Bobbie Armstrong tells me. She's showing me footage…

1 day ago
  • Feature
  • UK

The Canary is set to AMPLIFY young people’s voices. Here’s how to get involved.

How often do you watch or read the news and think ‘what a load of shit’; ‘that’s not how it…

1 day ago
  • News
  • UK

Coronavirus inquiry must examine ‘horrific’ consequences of mishandling the NHS 111 service – bereaved families

Families bereaved by coronavirus have set out the key areas they say the public inquiry must address as they wait…

2 days ago

We, and our partners, set cookies and collect information from your browser to provide you with website content, deliver relevant advertising and understand web audiences. See our privacy policy to learn more about how we manage your data and your rights. See our cookie consent policy to understand how we use cookies and tracking technology. To agree to our use of cookies, click "Accept".