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Food Poverty: Disability

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 249834, tabled on 1 May 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of disabled people in food poverty.

Answered on

8 May 2019

We will spend over £55 billion this year (2019/20) on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions. This is around 2.5% of GDP, and over 6% of government spending, and as a share of GDP, the UK’s public spending is second highest in the G7, bar Germany [OECD 2015 data]. This year spending on the main disability benefits (PIP, DLA and Attendance Allowance) will be over £6bn higher in real terms than it was in 2010.

Alongside this, we want to build a better understanding of household food needs so that future support reaches those who need it most. The new questions that we are including on the Family Resources Survey starting from April 2019 will enable us to better understand the drivers of food insecurity and identify which groups are most at risk.

We are committed to helping people with health conditions and disabilities move nearer to the labour market and, when ready, into work, by building more personalised tailored employment and health support, such as:

  • The Work and Health programme, which was rolled out between November 2017 and March 2018, and will provide innovative support for around 275,000 people. The majority of people of starting on the programme (around 220,000) will be disabled people who can volunteer for the programme at any time.
  • Access to Work, which is a demand-led, discretionary grant scheme that offers advice and in-work support above the level of statutory reasonable adjustments to disabled people who are in work or about to start work, up to an annual limit of £59,200 per person.
  • We also are promoting the skills and talents of disabled people and those with long term health conditions to employers through the Disability Confident Scheme. The Scheme focuses on the crucial role that employers play in ensuring disabled people are recruited, retained and developed in their careers. Over 11,500 employers have already signed up to the campaign, and this number continues to grow.
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