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Disabled People: Government Expenditure

Volume 611: debated on Tuesday 7 June 2016

11. What steps he is taking to ensure that disabled people are not disproportionately affected by reductions in government expenditure. (905198)

The Government have protected the value of disability benefits, exempting such payments from the uprating freeze and exempting those in receipt of them from the benefit cap. Disability spending will be higher in every year to 2020, relative to both 2010 and today.

That may the case, but a 40% reduction in core Government funding to local authorities has led to cuts that affect services. Local authorities are required to provide short breaks for children with disabilities, but 58% of local authorities have cut their short break funding by 15% or more. It is Carers Week. What will Treasury Ministers do to reverse the trend and ensure that there is money for local authorities to fund those important short breaks?

We have provided funding for respite breaks. The hon. Lady is right to identify this as an important thing for carers in this, Carers Week. There are 200,000 more people now receiving carer’s allowance in this country. The Care Act 2014 extends rights to assessments, and the Government are launching the new carer strategy in recognition of how important a role this is for millions of people throughout the country.

Recognising the risks of homelessness for disabled people, may I welcome the financial commitment in the Budget to prevent homelessness? But does the Minister recognise the risks of a local housing allowance cap on supported housing?

I, in turn, acknowledge my hon. Friend’s welcome for the additional money for tackling homelessness that was in the Budget—and, indeed, that has been provided previously. On the LHA cap, we now have a joint evidence review being conducted by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions, and the one-year exception, to make sure that we get this right, so that we can have a long-term, sustainable funding solution for this sector.