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  • Writer's pictureThe British Polio Fellowship

Minister of State for Disabled People responds to open letter


The Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP has directly responded to the open letter sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


The open letter (see https://www.britishpolio.org.uk/post/dear-chancellor-of-the-exchequer) was signed by The British Polio Fellowship, and other leading charities to ensure the Chancellor was aware of the urgent financial support that is needed by people living with neurological conditions.


Here is an extract of the response received on 16 December 2022:


On 26 May, the Government announced a package of support worth £15 billion, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need, and helping the millions of households struggling to make their incomes stretch to cover the rising cost of living. This package is in addition to the over £22 billion of support announced previously. The Government's Energy Price Guarantee is supporting millions of households with rising energy costs. It will save a typical household around £900 this winter, reducing bills by roughly a third, and is in place from 1 October 2022 until 31 March 2023. This is in addition to the help the Government is making available to most domestic electricity customers in Great Britain, with a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households, provided through the expansion of the Energy Bills Support Scheme.


To ensure stability and certainty for households, on 17 November, the Chancellor announced £26 billion of cost of living support for 2023/24 in the Autumn Statement. This includes Cost of Living Payments for the most vulnerable households, and the amended Energy Price Guarantee, which will save the average UK household £500 in 2023/24. Details on when and how this payment will be made will be available in due course.


Over 8 million UK households on eligible means-tested benefits will receive additional Cost of Living Payments totalling up to £900 in the 2023-24 financial year. This includes eligible households receiving the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit;

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance;

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance;

  • Income Support;

  • Pension Credit;

  • Working Tax Credit; or

  • Child Tax Credit.

These will be made in more than one payment. The Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs will provide further detail on the timing of these payments, and their eligibility dates, in due course.


Contributory and new-style benefits were not included, because people claiming these benefits may have other financial resources available. However, anyone on a low-income can also claim an eligible means-tested benefit such as, for example, Universal Credit.


We are also providing support to help disabled people with the extra costs they will face. Over 6 million people across the UK on eligible 'extra-costs' disability benefits will receive a further £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment in 2023-24, to help with the additional costs they face. This is in addition to the Cost of Living Payments for households on means-tested benefits, and pensioner households, if eligible. This includes everyone eligible for:

  • Disability Living Allowance;

  • Personal Independence Payment;

  • Attendance Allowance;

  • Scottish Disability Benefits;

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment;

  • Constant Attendance Allowance; or

  • War Pension Mobility Supplement.

The department will provide further detail on timings of the payments and eligibility dates in due course.


For those who require further support, the Government is providing an additional £1 billion of funding to enable the extension of the Household Support Fund in the next financial year. This is on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing total funding to £2.5 billion. In England, this will be delivered through an extension to the Household Support Fund, backed by £842 million, running from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, which local authorities use to help households with the cost of essentials on a discretionary basis. It will be for the devolved administrations to decide how to allocate their additional Barnett funding.


Full details of all the comprehensive cost of living support can be found via the following link at: https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/.


Clearly, there is much more we need to do and the British Polio Fellowship will be working alongside other neurological charities to ensure this matter is not ignored by government.

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