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Costly differences made life harder for people with a disability  

Costly differences: living standards for working-age people with disabilities.

That was where we began our 2023 campaign on behalf of people living with chronic ill health or disability. It was a Resolution Foundation briefing on the extra costs of health problems.
2023 Campaign Reflection 4) Health & Disability

mature person
Managing health issues means price rises weigh even more heavily.

The foundation says: “People with disabilities are more vulnerable to the rising costs of essentials because energy and food make up a greater share of their budgets.

Little has changed since. Those costs are still high and still rising, if more slowly. More of our clients are needing help with health-related benefits and emergency food vouchers.

Upside, inflation is set to fall in April with energy bills; policy on the minimum wage and benefit levels has helped a lot; as have targeted grants but they are due to end in April without replacements.

Looking back

In March we were highlighting the rocketing costs of everything particularly basic food items. High energy prices are harder to bear if you’re ill so we were also backing demands for a new social tariff. Those demands are still growing and we are still backing them; water and broadband suppliers have shown the way.

By April policymakers were starting to worry about the relentless rise in disability benefit claims. We can take for granted their concern for the new claimants’ wellbeing but, well, it was also the economy. More inactive working-age citizens with rising vacancy numbers and wages pointed to unappealing rises in inflation and interest rates.

Our evidence shows the part personal independence payment (PIP) was playing then and still is (chart). But policy folk could also learn a lot from the breadth of support our advisers’ were providing.   

PIP By Far

Towards the end of the year we were beginning to sound like an audio-loop or a politician with pledges.

We showed the progress of claim numbers over 5 years and the difficulties clients were facing. We also repeated the call for greater financial support – so far without success.  

Looking forward. Recognising the importance of local public services

As with all our 2024-25 campaigns CAEE will continue to support policy reform: anonymous Citizens Advice issue information helps at both local and national level. But this year we will also seek to work more closely with health organisations in the borough.

Making the case for a better social safety net comes naturally. In current circumstances that also means highlighting the special importance of local public services to the people we help. We can already see stretched budgets and financial difficulties taking their toll.

Depleted local services hit lower-income and vulnerable people hardest, just like essentials price inflation.

In 2024-25 we will work harder to engage elected and executive decision-makers whenever our experience might help them improve public or consumer policy.

Looking forward. Building on CAEE projects and local partnerships
FLP Word cloud
Supporting financial education is a vital wellbeing policy too.

At CAEE we’re proud to deliver a range of local projects in line with our primary mission: to help citizens whoever they are, whatever their problem. Examples are:

They not only support Epsom & Ewell residents in present difficulties but raise their prospects for a better future.

This work contributes to our second mission: using our knowledge and research to identify policy or practice that is causing client and community problems. It is notable that each project depends on partnerships other local organisations – councils, charities, schools, health and wellbeing services.

In 2024-25 we will build on this collaborative success to achieve positive policy outcomes alongside our direct support for clients.
2023 Campaign Reflection 4) Health & Disability


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