Citizens Advice survey shows millions will be in energy bills debt
New analysis from Citizens Advice shows 1 in 4 (24%) people in the UK won’t be able to afford to pay their energy bills in October, based on current forecasts.
That is double the number already in the red before the price cap rises in two months. The figure could jump to 1 in 3 (34%) people in January when prices are predicted to soar above £4,200. It said that 3.2 million Disabled people and 4.4 million families with children will not be able to meet the hike in prices in October.
Read the full Citizens Advice survey story on our website.
DWP admits Access to Work is overwhelmed by workload but rejects meeting
The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has admitted that Access to Work is struggling to cope with rising applications for support but it has rejected requests to meet with leaders of Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) to discuss the problem.
Increasing numbers of Disabled people have contacted DR UK and other DPOs about long delays in securing Access to Work support. This is a particular issue for Disabled people who have secured work or are seeking renewal of existing support.
Read more about DPOs’ efforts to speed up Access to Work decisions on our website.
Appeal granted against court judgment denying £20 per week uplift on “justifiable” disability discrimination grounds
On 18 February 2022, the High Court dismissed the case brought by four claimants challenging the Government’s failure to apply the £20 per week uplift to legacy benefit recipients that had been provided to Universal Credit (UC) claimants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, permission to appeal the High Court’s judgment has been granted and the case will now be heard by the Court of Appeal.
MPs condemn government secrecy over welfare reforms impact
MPs have accused ministers of hiding official reports on the impact of welfare reforms.
DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler, who was quoted extensively in The Guardian coverage of the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s criticism, told the paper: “We’re not talking about just one report and one subject. We’re talking about a whole swathe of reports about important aspects of the system. The DWP are operating behind a wall of secrecy.”
Read the full DWP secrecy story on The Guardian website.
Appeal granted against court judgment excluding disabled students from universal credit
In January 2022, the High Court dismissed a judicial review brought against rules restricting universal credit (UC) to disabled students.
Flinn Kays, a disabled 19 year-old student, argued that the rules that existed prior to 15 December 2021 were unlawful. These rules had prevented him from receiving UC until he first underwent a work capability assessment and established a limited capability for work.
The University of Stirling to study the impact of place and stigma on older Disabled adults
University of Stirling housing expert Dr Vikki McCall will lead new research to explore the impact of stigma on fuelling inequalities experienced by UK Disabled adults in later life.
Read the full University of Stirling research story on our website.
Chancellor urged to support Disabled people with cost of living crisis
The Disability Poverty Campaign Group has written to the Chancellor asking for a number of urgent measures to be implemented to protect and support Disabled people through the financial crisis. This follows press reports that the Treasury is putting together options for the new Prime Minister.
Actions sought include an immediate increase to all benefits in line with inflation, a ban on deductions being taken from benefits and targeted financial support to Disabled people.
Passenger Assistance continues to function during strikes
Industrial action is taking place across the rail system and as a result Disability Rights UK has received emails raising concerns over the availability of ticket bookings, assistance at stations and onboard support.
DR UK’s Rail Policy Advisor, Stephen Brookes, has contacted the Rail Delivery Group and confirmed that the National Rail passenger assistance service is continuing to be operated by the Train companies. You can read the full industrial action story on our website.
If you have any specific issues please contact the train company you are travelling with.
Government announces limited new supported employment funding
The Department of Work & Pensions has announced new grant funding covering 24 local authority areas in England and Wales for local supported employment (LSE) schemes – an investment of £7.6 million over the next three years.
The Government says that each of the local authority areas will support between 60 and 140 adults with learning disabilities, autism or both to move into competitive employment and provide the help they need to maintain that employment.
Read the full supported employment funding story on our website.
DR UK continues campaigning for PEEPs
As part of DR UK’s ongoing campaigning on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) we submitted a response to the Emergency Information Sharing (EEIS) consultation – which has now closed. DR UK’s full consultation response can be found on our website, including an accessible word document. Claddag have also published a summary of the main issues.
Disabled people urged to check on eligibility for social tariffs on broadband
Broadband bills could be cut for millions of low-income households under Government plans to encourage ‘social tariffs’.
The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has launched a new scheme aimed at providing broadband access at a ‘social tariff’ to people who receive certain benefits.
Read the full broadband social tariff story on our website.
DR UK says £150 September Cost of Living payment to disabled people “nowhere near enough”
Around 6 million disabled people in the UK will receive their one-off £150 disability Cost of Living payment from 20 September, the Government has confirmed.
Read the full Cost of Living story on our website.
DR UK responds to housing consultations
DR UK has responded to the government consultation “Improving disabled people’s access to let residential premises: reasonable adjustments to common parts, a new duty”, which can be read on the DR UK website, and submitted evidence for the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Renters Reform Bill.
Real terms funding for England’s parks down £330m a year since 2010
Research by the Guardian Newspaper has found that the poorest areas are losing out most from local authorities’ deep cuts, which have left green spaces in decline.