Patricia Gibson MP has called on the UK Tory Government to strengthen welfare protections to better support people with disabilities, after new research revealed disabled employees have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.
A new survey by national poverty charity, Turn2us, shows that two thirds of people with disabilities have had their employment affected by the coronavirus: 63% of disabled males and 67% of disabled females, compared to 43% and 50% of able-bodied employees respectively. As a result, working aged disabled people are much more likely to need Universal Credit to cover the cost of living; one in five compared to one in ten.
This follows a report published earlier this month by the National Audit Office that showed the five week-wait and advance payments under Universal Credit is contributing to financial hardship and debt, particularly for people with disabilities. On top of this, Tory plans to withdraw the recent increase to Universal Credit next April, will mean an income cut of over £1,000 for over six million households at a time when the UK could be facing the aftermath of a second wave of infections.
“Years of Tory welfare cuts and benefit sanctions have had a hugely damaging impact on the living standards of people with disabilities and now the impact of coronavirus is exacerbating that.
“The UK Government must strengthen welfare protections to better support people with disabilities and put cash in the pockets of those that need it most, instead of continuing to push people into debt and financial hardship with their punitive policies at the height of a global health and economic crisis.
“UK Ministers must also invest in job creation and ensure the disability employment gap doesn’t widen. Disabled people must be supported in finding work and staying in work.”
“The UK social security system is disproportionately failing people with disabilities. It is high time the Prime Minister followed through on his promise to ‘do what it takes’ to support everyone through this crisis.”
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