Skip to main content

Disabled People’s Benefits: Cost of Living

Volume 708: debated on Monday 7 February 2022

4. What recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of benefits for disabled people in the context of increases in the cost of living. (905449)

The hon. Lady will know that the personal independence payment is aimed at providing assistance to disabled people with extra costs. As the Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman), has just outlined, alongside the £9 billion energy bills rebate announced on 3 February the Government are providing £12 billion of support over this financial year and next to ease cost of living pressures, with help targeted at working families, low-income households, and the most vulnerable.

The increasing cost of living is having a huge impact on so many people, and instead of doing the right thing, this Government buried a £70 million stealth cut to disability benefits in the autumn Budget. For the hundreds of thousands of people impacted, I ask the Minister: exactly how does she expect disabled people to manage their rising energy bills while this Government stand by with woefully inadequate proposals?

I am afraid the hon. Lady has simply misread things. What she is referring to in the spending review is our intention to create extra support for the most severely disabled. She needs to read it again.

I asked the Minister if she would publish the NatCen report into disabled people’s experiences of the benefits system. She said no. The Work and Pensions Committee used its powers to publish the report instead. Having reviewed this research, it is crystal clear what the Government were hiding. Disabled people are struggling on a day-to-day basis. Does she agree that the money disabled people receive is not enough to cover their additional living costs? If she does agree, why has her Department not done anything to address it?

I fear we have some serial misreading going on here. As the research shows, health and disability benefits, alongside other income streams, such as passporting and the Motability scheme, help to meet almost all identified areas of additional need.