Skip to main content

Disabled People: Additional Costs

Volume 738: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2023

6. What recent estimate she has made of the level of additional costs affecting households with disabled people. (906696)

We will spend around £78.6 billion this year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions. No such estimate has been made but as a Government we are providing total support of more than £94 billion from 2022 to 2024 and we are determined to help all households and individuals with the rising cost of bills. This includes an additional £150 for more than 6 million disabled people.

That is great, but back in the real world the Minister really does know that the rising cost of living is having a disproportionately negative impact on disabled people. They face higher living costs as a consequence and they still face barriers to employment. Does she accept that targeted action, including disability pay gap reporting, is now needed to support disabled people?

If the hon. Gentleman is concerned about his disabled constituents, I can point him to the household support fund, which is also helping those constituents and their carers. In his constituency—in his real world—an additional £4.4 million has landed to support him. This is not a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions, but I am sure that it will have been heard.

My hon. Friend will be aware that funds are made available to get disabled people into employment via Access to Work. However, there are significant delays in those funds being made available, once granted. Additional costs to disabled people—for example, their paying £6,000 for powered wheels—come at more of a cost when they are obliged to pay for them on their credit card because they cannot access the funds in time. Will she please work with colleagues across the DWP to ensure that there are no delays in getting access to the funds that will help disabled people into work?

I thank my right hon. Friend for her point, which gives me the opportunity to say that from next Tuesday an additional £300 will be paid in cost of living payments to those who are eligible. Regarding access to work, there is a continuing focus on improving waiting times for customers and we are streamlining and digitising the process. Indeed, I spoke to the Minister for Disabled People this week on exactly this matter in relation to one of my own constituents, and I will see that he hears it again from my right hon. Friend.