End-users to get extra £42m to spend on access equipment

The government is to invest an additional £42m in disability benefits to help people pay for things like access alterations to their homes.

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn statement speech on Wednesday avoided mention of social care but his red book showed extra money will be ploughed into the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) next year, bringing the total budget for this year to £473 million.

DFG benefits are designed to facilitate access and are spent on things like stair lifts, grab rails, ramps and adapted kitchens and bathrooms. Mr Hammond’s announcement will be welcome news to both end-users and access and mobility providers and installers.

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As it stands, people receiving the grant in England can claim up to £30,000 to spend on solutions, while people in Wales can claim up to £36,000 and people in Northern Ireland can claim up to £25,000.

But Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, advised that with nearly a quarter of the population set to be over the age of 65 by 2030, the government needs to include plans to cope with an ageing population to make Britain ‘fit for the future’.

“The fact that the words ‘social care’ didn’t even merit a mention in the Chancellor’s budget speech is a stark omission,” she said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was also frustrated with the lack of social care mentioned in the speech. He said more than a million elderly people are not receiving the care they need due to funding cuts.

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