Responding to the Chancellor’s 2016 Budget Statement, today, Tim Cooper, chief executive of United Response, said:

“The Chancellor’s claim that this Government is spending more on people with disabilities than the previous Government will bring little comfort to the 3.4 million people with disabilities in this country who are currently living in poverty.

“The Government’s plans to “better target” support, announced earlier this week, will see 600,000 people with disabilities worse off, and therefore less able to meet the additional living costs that they incur directly as a result of having a disability. We are also yet to see where the additional £3.5 billion cuts to public spending, announced today, will fall.

“For the 890,000 people who accessed long-term social care last year, and the additional 520,000 who had their request for help turned down, this budget has created nothing but greater uncertainty, as the income of local authorities is reduced further through cuts to local business rates.

“£700 million is needed to simply maintain social care at its current level. The Chancellor suggested back in his Autumn statement that additional funding could be raised through the 2% increase in council tax (social care precept). But recent figures from the LGA have shown that this will bring in at best £372 million. It will also create greater disparity, with local authorities in poorer areas where social care is needed most being the least able to generate additional income through council tax rises.

“Whist additional funding has been promised through the Better Care Fund, the vast majority (£1.5 billion) will not be made available to local authorities until 2020. The Chancellor ignored calls from across the sector today to bring forward at least £700m of this funding to 2016/17 to address the most pressing areas of need.

“Alongside this, policies announced at the last budget, such as the introduction of the National Living Wage and the cap on Housing Benefit, are creating additional costs and uncertainty at a time when the social care sector is already teetering on the edge. Again, these are areas where the Chancellor failed to provide any reassurances today.

“For the Government to deliver on the vision for care set out in the Care Act, and on the promises that it has made to people with learning disabilities in the No Voice Unheard, No Right Ignored green paper, it must invest in social care and, if not now, then when?

“Today’s budget does nothing but compound the uncertainty already facing people with disabilities.”