Budget Still Disappoints Blind and Partially Sighted People

Date posted: 6th March 2024

Today, 6th March 2024, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed his Spring Budget.

Mike Bell, TPT’s Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns, has identified its key points.

Transport Accessibility Remains a Key Issue

Unfortunately, the Budget did not offer much on transport at all. The Statement does not mention new funding for street environment improvements, such as pavement repairs – something we know is so important in enabling blind and partially sighted people to get out and about independently. There is no big investment in improving public transport or delivering the step change in accessibility that is urgently needed.

We will continue to lobby hard on this and push for more action including the accessibility of transport apps, affordable and reliable services and appropriate assistance for blind and partially sighted passengers to enable independent transport.

Supporting People Into Work

Unlike previous years, this Budget announcement was almost silent on employment and how the Government will support more disabled people getting to or back into work.

We have been urging the government to tackle the continuing delays and backlogs with the Access to Work scheme and to do more to promote the scheme to employers. This can be an important way to support blind and partially sighted people who are looking for employment, to get into jobs. We will keep campaigning on access and inclusion in employment.

“Although headline cuts to National Insurance will benefit those in work, with a further 2p in the pound reduction in the rate paid by employees, for three quarters of blind and partially sighted people of working age, this amounts to nothing since only 25% of BPS people  are integrated into the workforce”,

said Charles Colquhoun, CEO of Thomas Pocklington Trust.

Support for the Poorest Households

We’re pleased that the Household Support Fund, which was due to stop at the end of March has now been extended for six months. The Fund provides extra local funding support through local councils for the most vulnerable households.

However, as households head into winter, later in the year, the scheme will stop again.

We will continue working with other charities and organisations in calling for an extension after its completion.

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