Hft | About us | News and updates | Hft responds to the Spring Statement 2022

Responding to the 2022 Spring Statement, Kirsty Matthews, CEO of Hft, the charity that supports adults with learning disabilities, said:

As we navigate a cost of living crisis, this week’s Spring Statement was a valuable opportunity for the Chancellor to ensure that people with a learning disability are able to weather this storm which disproportionately impacts them. Life is more expensive for disabled people as they tend to spend more on essential goods and services such as heating, insurance and therapies, and the proportion of working-aged disabled people in poverty is higher.

However, the measures announced on Wednesday – such as the increase to National Insurance thresholds, reducing fuel prices, and even the additional funding for the Housing Support Fund, whilst welcomed – do not go far enough to target the extra costs disabled people face.

In addition, inflation and the rising cost of utilities also impact care providers, who  deliver invaluable support for adults with a learning disability. While the Chancellor announced the Health and Care Levy would be exempt from future tax cuts, the current allocation to the social care sector does not go far enough to meet the immediate and growing financial pressure it is under which will be made more acute by this cost of living crisis. Concerningly, these pressures may force providers to make difficult decisions, for example, by closing services or offering care to fewer people.

While doubling the Housing Support Fund, taking it to a total of £1bn, is welcome, it is not ring-fenced and there is no way to ensure it will reach people with a learning disability who are struggling with the cost of living. The Government must rethink its approach to ensure people with a learning disability do not shoulder the greatest burden of the cost of living crisis.

We support calls on the Government, made by the Local Government Association, to draw additional funds from the Health and Social Care Levy into social care from year one. This must ensure providers can cover rises in utility bills and other inflationary costs.

The Government’s reform and integration plans could be the beginning of a brighter future for social care and the people it supports but, without placing the sector on a sustainable financial footing now, that future is at risk.