Statistical manipulation disguises the fact that disabled people are being hit the hardest by cuts to benefits and services



‘Social care is bearing the brunt of council cuts’

Statistical manipulation disguises the fact that disabled people are being hit the hardest by cuts to benefits and services

Simon Duffy Guardian Professional

One of the extraordinary features of the cuts programme has been the fate ofsocial care. At the same time as announcing the deepest cuts in public expenditure since the creation of the welfare state, there have been several pronouncements about extra funding for social care and how any failure to safeguard services for disabled children, adults or older people would be because of failings in local government. 

For instance, the 2010 comprehensive spending review declared that there would be “£2bn a year of additional funding by 2014-15 to support social care”. However, a closer examination of these figures shows it was merely a statistical manipulation, achieved by closing one small funding stream, restarting it and then publishing the cumulative figure for a five-year period. The truth is very different. 

In fact, over the past two-and-a-half years, social care has already experienced a devastating cut of over £4bn per year, about 16%. By 2015, it will have been cut by more than £8bn per year (about 33%). And there is a very simple and powerful reason for this. By 2015, local government in England needs to make an annual real term cut of £16bn (40% of its central funding) and social care makes up 60% of real local government spending. The problems in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be similar. 

The severity of the cuts in social care is partly disguised by exaggerating the size of local government. In reality, most of the funding we associate with local government, such as education, is ring-fenced from the worst of the cuts. It is social care which must bear the biggest share of local cuts. 

Directors of social services know what is going on, but they feel powerless to resist or to complain. Their professional bodies and the LGA have been muted in their response – even Labour authorities have struggled to expose the depth of the cuts, perhaps fearing that, however unreasonably, they will still get the blame. Central government’s success in shifting responsibility for the cuts to local government is mirrored by the Learning Disability Coalition’s Protect the Frontline Campaign, which seemed to imply that local government really could cut something else, instead of social care. 

Many charities and advocacy organisations do not seem to realise how severe the problem is, and how much worse it is going to get. Partly this is because they are also having to do battle with the government’s £22bn cut to benefits (a cut of about 20%). There are so many different cuts hidden within the so called “welfare reforms” that it is a constant effort to keep up with the next attack. It seems almost impossible to identify the cumulative impact of all these measures, although campaigners such as Pat’s Petition have been making a noble effort to expose what is really going on. 

The Centre for Welfare Reform’s latest report A Fair Society? How the Cuts Target Disabled People provides the most significant overview to date, and its results are truly shocking. People needing social care are hit by a double whammy of benefit cuts and social care cuts. Our analysis shows that, while most of us face cuts in services or income equivalent to £467, people in poverty face cuts totalling £2,195 per person, and disabled people face cuts totalling £4,410 per person. Disabled people (including children and older people) with the most severe disabilities, those entitled to social care, will face the biggest cut of all – an average cut of £8,832. This cut is 19 times greater than the cut falling on most other citizens. 

The impact of this on real people will be varied and complex, but it will be overwhelmingly negative. All of this makes talk of welfare reform, personalisation or a new social care funding system faintly ludicrous, and the true facts remain unreported. There are a few groups – such as the Campaign for a Fair SocietyHardest Hit, and We Are Spartacus – who do grasp the true extent of the problem. It is time for social care leaders to join and help build an alliance to resist these combined assaults on disability rights.

Simon Duffy is director of the Centre for Welfare Reform

Guardian Professional



11 thoughts on “Statistical manipulation disguises the fact that disabled people are being hit the hardest by cuts to benefits and services

  1. R. Robinson says:

    I felt I had to tell you about my situation when I saw that Mr Cameron is saying that people on Benefits are “Highly Paid”! I have been on sickness benefit recently. I got £99 per week to pay gas, electric, food, water rates, phone bill, I have a car my brother bought for me, so i pay for petrol, MOT, insurance and car tax. My car is my lifeline, i would not go anywhere without it and my family live 22 miles from me. Now Mr Cameron has brought in the “bedroom tax”! How does he think that people on benefits can afford to pay for this as well? I really struggle to survive! Each week I have to think do i pay for gas or buy food? I am sure I am typical of the majority of people on benefits. I have seen so much in the papers about people getting ridiculous amounts of money on benefits, this is totally untrue! I think it is propaganda from the government and the media to make ordinary people think that anyone on benefits is “well off” What absolute rubbish! Yes you have managed to make a lot of people angry with your lies Mr Cameron, i tried to post to tell people my situation on one particular “newspaper” but, guess what, they would not print my emails! I sent four messages, they printed none! They didn’t want true situations they wanted your made up ones to make the country angry and make people on benefits further exploited! You never put in the media anything about the amount of people who have died or committed suicide because of your “Welfare Reforms”! There are 4,500 at the present moment, i’m sure there will be more when you hit the poor people with “bedroom tax”! It must be a terrible feeling to be so angry with people who are sick, disabled or unemployed. There are no jobs to get because there are two million people out of work? The unemployed get “£71 per week, how do they manage to survive? The government don’t care do they? They are okay, they can use their millions of pounds to get private health care, they don’t need benefits. Why do this government, who are all wealthy people have such a hatred for sick, disabled and unemployed people, when it has been proved that only 0.3% of people on benefits are the actual scroungers? We have more homeless people than ever, What will happen when the “bedroom tax” starts? More homeless people, more soup kitchens and food banks. The NHS is on it’s knees the amount of nurses that have been cut. The police, the fire brigade. I am ashamed to English in this Country right now!

    1. Bluesky says:

      I know how you feel on this one, i’ve emailed my local papper about the canadian chap sending evidence to the ICC (international criminal court) in the hague about the human rights breaches by IDS, MM.GO. but to date i’ve heard nothing…….

  2. Boadacia! says:

    It is because the truth is severely suppressed by those that have the billions to do this that turns the minds of those simple enough to buy their filthy news rags. It is an age old recurrence of propaganda.

    Do not be shocked that no one seems to listen, and fight in ways that are proven to work against these robbing murdering barons in control of the country.

    1. R. Robinson says:

      Thank you Boadacia, I am shocked that people do not even know, or do not want to listen about what is happening to sick, disabled and unemployed people. They really are murdering, evil people. I hope they one day get back what they have dished out!

  3. jeffery davies says:

    we havent monies in the banking system other than a few bob ,but the miilioniares and billioniares have lost out to the bankers who played with said monies but then theres only 1percent who are rich and thats why we the poor 99percent pay to give them caviar and salmon on their tables ,but dont think for one moment torys will ever look after you they wont they only goal is to look after those who are rich and put a little into htier pot jeff3

  4. laz says:

    I hear what you say.I feel it too,I too could write chapters on what i have been through and how difficult and hard things are and have been for for us all. Being the brunt of contrived proganda & experiencing the greed & hatred that must be behind it hurts and saddens me deeply as I am sure it does for all of us . As for wishing it on them,well sometimes the anger & frustration gets to me too but I would not wish such treatment on anyone,& I am sure you all feel the same when you stop & think about it because WE are better than that.
    I refuse to fall into this trap of theirs to bring us all down to their level of meanness & putting blame on us ,the unemployed ,immigrants etc when truely the whole mess has been caused by a reckless uncontrolled financial sector and those in power who let them get away with it for their own gain .They have moved real employment overseas to control the people and force us to be compliant. We left that treatment behind after WW2 but they want that power again to lord it over us all. Endure and feel the real strength of your character and unite with other good people.You have suffered at the hands of these sad & gutless spoilt dictators & you persiverevere against their underhanded and cowardly persicutions.We are English,Scottish,Welsh & Irish,we are Britains & we built this nation and it was our blood sweat tears & very lives of our predicessors ,we made a truely Great Nation with Courage,Empathy Compassion & Determination an example many Nations have followed. Fight this nonsensical administration , appose them at every turn.We must not give in,we must not stop fighting,we must not lay down and Die or give up & end it all .Refuse to cower down,appose every decision and appeal .Each one of us has more guts then all those sad Bastards put together. They will only have their way if we keep quiet and do nothing.Be Strong of Will,God Bless if you have one,if not we have unity of spirit.

    1. Bluesky says:

      Laz, i’ve said before that when ‘WE’ the citizens of this country are pushed too far we come out fighting. the line in the sand has been drawn. We the disabled are not alone in this fight, the armed forces are being cut back as are the police and everything else. david cameron and his ‘NASTY PARTY’ are soooooo out of touch with the rest of this country. that they are heading full pelt for the edge of the cliff that they have made for themselves, and i will be on that cliff edge with my foot out ready to trip them up. so they take a little fall onto the razor blades, broken glass, sharp pointy things etc at the bottom of the cliff. and as a first aider i’ll feel it my duty to give aid, i’ve got my modifide first aid kit ready eg a ‘VERY BIG HAMMER’. mmmmm what could i do to increase(ooops sorry bit of a typo there) ease the suffering of the poor widdle iddy biddy polititians???? any thoughts anyone? lol..(send your ideas to = 10 Downing Street. London.)


    I do not hate this coalition government, it goes way beyond hate….
    In fact there is probably not any word that describes how i feel about them….
    What i do know, and gather satisfaction from, is the thought that this feeling is shared by so many….
    We all know the cause….
    Hopefully, the remedy may be within our grasp…


    ……the new girl in the D W P pointed at a piece of paper on the office wall and asked, “is that the head office phone number?”. “No its not” came the reply from the manager wearing jackboots, “its the total number of people we have driven into poverty today”.
    The new girl looked so disappointed, “surely we can hurt more tomorrow?”.

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