An excellent survey by Contact A Family has revealed that families with disabled children are struggling with basic household costs and that this has been made worse by the economic downturn.
Key findings included:
- 23% of families had to turn off their heating to save money
- 14% are going without food
- 73% said they had to forego leisure activities and days out
- 68% are not taking any holidays
I’m afraid that the situation isn’t going to get any better because of the approach being taken by the coalition government. Despite David Cameron’s assurance on the doorstep of Number 10 that
I want to make sure that my government always looks after the elderly, the frail, the poorest in our country
the reality is going to be very different. The Minister for Disabled People’s comments in response to Contact A Family’s survey are indicative of this. She noted:
Families with disabled children can face some of the toughest challenges when trying to get back into work. Our new work programme will help as it will provide a personalised package of support which can address issues around specialist childcare and respite care, regardless of the benefits they claim.
That is, one of the major problems being faced by parents of disabled children is that they aren’t earning enough through work. I suspect an entire army of carers will have something to say about that.
The Minister also has the cheek to suggest that:
From next year Disability Living Allowance will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index, meaning those families facing financial hardship will be better off than if we had stuck with the previous Government’s plan to claw back last year’s increase.
As analysis has shown, disabled people will be approximately over £300 worse off as a result of the coalition government’s switch from the Retail Prices Index to the Consumer Prices Index, on the basis of forecast DLA and Carer’s Allowance rates alone.
The financial reality for many parents of disabled children is very far from the lofty rhetoric of a coalition government that pretends to care.