27 October 2017
By Philip Brownlie
This week, MPs debated two issues we have campaigned on — social care and supported housing.
Previously, we raised concerns that the government’s promised consultation on social care was only considering the needs of older people. Worryingly, it looked like the large number of younger disabled people who get social care (accounting for 48% of the total spend on social care), were being ignored.
However during the debate, the Health Minister confirmed the government will consult separately on social care for working age disabled adults. This will happen in the new year at the same time as the consultation on social care for older people.
This is a very welcome development. The current social care system is not sustainable and is failing disabled people up and down the country. Our research has shown that half of disabled adults (48%) who say they need social care do not receive any support at all.
It is vital that the government properly listens to the experiences of disabled people and how social care impacts on the quality of their whole life.
We will keep up the pressure on the government to find a long term, sustainable solution for funding social care.
In a debate on Supported Housing, Theresa May dropped plans to cap housing benefit for people living in supported housing.
Currently, housing benefit will cover individuals rent and the higher costs associated with supported housing.
Under the previous plans, many disabled people in supported housing (who likely have their rent met in full by housing benefit) would have needed a top up from their local authority to fund a gap between the cost of their home and the level of benefits available, with no guarantee they could get this funding or how long it would last.
Supported housing for disabled people costs more than other types of housing because it is often purpose built to enable disabled people to lead more independent lives, with greater accessibility, more space or specific adaptations included. It often involves additional housing management costs.
The prime minister told MPs the government would no longer roll out welfare changes which threaten disabled people’s ability to afford the specialist homes they need.
This u-turn is a great victory for disabled people. Supported housing, while not appropriate for everyone, enables thousands of people in the UK to take control of where they live — and how they live.
The government will publish its full response to a consultation on the future funding model for supported housing shortly. It would contain plans to drop the rollout of the cap.
We will be monitoring this closely.
Philip Brownlie is the public affairs manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability.