Today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP outlined the UK Government’s 2022 Spring Statement. We take a look at what this means for people living with MS.
A missed opportunity
The Chancellor confirmed inflation had risen following COVID-19 and the developing war in the Ukraine. Inflation is expected to reach an average of 7.4% this year.
Despite the clear pressure this puts on the increasing cost of living, today’s announcement is expected to do little to support the most vulnerable.
There were positive announcements for some, but these are likely to benefit people already in work. Sadly, there was nothing to support people who rely on benefits and are likely to feel even more pressure from rising costs.
The Chancellor outlined the following key announcements:
- A cut to fuel duty by 5 pence for every litre until March 2023
- Extending the energy efficiency relief to cover equipment such as solar panels and heat pumps for the next 5 years
- Doubling the household support fund to £1 billion from April 2022
- Increasing the National Insurance threshold by £3,000 in line with income tax
- Cutting the rate of income tax by 1 pence in 2024
The true cost for disabled people
Figures from the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) show how the changes will affect disabled people. People on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will experience a real terms cut of £272 a year on average. And some of the hardest hit disabled people will face a real terms cut of £592 per year.
This comes after people on Universal Credit were denied an extra £20 a week during the pandemic. And two thirds of disabled people claiming legacy benefits said they were going without essential items as a result.
Anastasia Berry, our Policy Co-Chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium and Policy Manager, says:
“The Chancellor’s Spring Statement shows the government’s inability to understand the devastating impact of the cost of living crisis. And how it will affect many disabled people, including those with MS. Despite inflation, fuel costs, and food prices skyrocketing, they’ve chosen to push through an unacceptable real terms benefits cut – forcing people deeper into poverty.
“Pushing this cut in the middle of a cost of living crisis is like telling someone about a storm while drilling a hole in their boat. The government must increase benefits levels in line with inflation. Or disabled people’s health will suffer even more.”
Join our campaign for better support for people with MS
This Spring Statement is extremely disappointing for people with MS. But we’ll continue to campaign for a fair, effective and properly funded social security system.
Join the campaigns community and help us campaign for better financial support and services for the MS community.
Our MS Helpline gives emotional support and information to anyone living with MS. We’re here Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm except bank holidays. Call us for free on 0808 800 8000.