Friday, October 7, 2011

Four-in-10 disabled children 'in poverty' in UK

Four in 10 disabled children in the UK live "in poverty", according to the Children's Society.

In the population as a whole, about one-in-three children lives in poverty.

The charity is calling on the government to rethink planned changes to welfare benefits in the UK, saying more than 100,000 disabled children could lose up to £27 a week.

The government says the most severely disabled children will receive more money under the changes. This means that with a fixed budget expenditure, less 'severe' disabled children will lose or receive reduced support.

The UK Tory 'Welfare Reform' Bill is nearing its final stage in parliament before it becomes law. The current UK government uses the term 'reform' as a euphimism for 'severe budget cuts' and /or 'moves towards Privatisation of public services.

Ultimately, this cheapening of social care leads to a reduction of basic human rights for people who are already marginalised, by no fault of thier own.

From 2013, the UK Tory gov will bring in a single monthly payment - known as a Universal Credit - which will replace a range of benefits. This 'one-size-fits-all' approach is a simplistic economic tool that is in no way considerate of individual situations and conditions.

The Children's Society says a new study it has carried out shows 320,000 disabled children in the UK live below the poverty line. Arguably this can be the result of parents staying at home caring for children and giving up on employment opportunities.

UK poverty is defined as being in a family where the income is less than 60% of the national average.

The charity says nearly a third of the 320,000 live in "severe poverty" - where the income is less than 40% of the average.

It says the welfare changes could mean more families with disabled children fall further below the poverty line.

At the moment, families with a disabled child may currently be entitled to support through the disability elements of child tax credit.

Under plans set out for Universal Credit, this support will be given through what is is called "disability additions", within household benefit entitlements.

The government plans to halve the maximum level of support provided through the disability additions - from £54 per week, down to £27 per week.

But it says the plans will mean more financial support for the most severely disabled children.

Read more on this article at BBC News and let us know your comments and if these changes affect you, leat us know in what way.

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