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(UK) Economic crisis results in "catastrophic" lack of services for disabled kids

Sept 30, 2022, Evangelical Focus: Why the economic crisis is terrible news for disabled children, and how to help https://evangelicalfocus.com/the-additional-needs-blogfather/18866/why-the-economic-crisis-is-terrible-news-for-disabled-children-and-how-to-help

The media is in meltdown reporting on the economic crisis that has hit the United Kingdom following the Government’s mini-budget on Friday 23rd September.

Economic experts are queueing up to explain why this is a disaster, and the financial markets are reacting with big drops in the London stock market and the value of the UK Pound. But what has any of this to do with children and young people with additional needs or disabilities, and their families? Well, as it turns out, quite a bit.

GOVERNMENT FUNDING AND SPENDING

The mini-budget will require massive extra Government borrowing, at a time when borrowing is already at a high. Reuters reports that the additional cost of this borrowing in this financial year alone will be £72 billion. Interest on Government borrowing has increased from around 1% earlier this year to nearly 5% now, and could yet go higher, massively increasing the interest payments required to service this huge debt. Analysis by Reuters found that the jump in UK bond borrowing rates this month was greater than any monthly move in the Bank of England’s comparative records for 10-year UK government debt in data going back to 1957.

The Pound has crashed on the international market, almost reaching parity with the US Dollar and the Euro, making the cost of international borrowing, and international trade, much higher.

Think tank ‘Resolution Foundation’ has examined the latest figures and commented that UK households will be poorer as a direct result of the government’s loss of credibility in financial markets following the mini-budget statement last Friday, according to calculations published by Bloomberg UK. The collapse of the pound against the dollar and surge in market interest rates triggered by the mini-budget will worsen the cost of living crisis and add hundreds of pounds to the typical mortgage, the think tank said.

All of this will also inevitably massively squeeze Government spending in areas like the NHS, social care, children’s services, education and more. Families with children with additional needs and disabilities have already seen services delayed, reduced or closed as a result of the COVID pandemic, and the impact on areas such as diagnoses, therapies, mental health services and more have been catastrophic. The current economic climate is only going to continue this downward spiral in services.
Ongoing research from the Disabled Children’s Partnership has revealed that over 4 in 10 families with disabled children are waiting over a year for basic services like therapies, respite care and appointments with education psychologists. Time matters for these children and these delays can be devastating to them and their families.

Additional needs and household poverty

We know from studies done just a few years ago that additional needs and poverty can be closely linked. A study in 2017 by the Times Educational Supplement showed that ‘children from poor families are ‘twice as likely’ to have special needs’, and this is supported by research from the Joseph Rowntree Trust that shows that 40% of households that include a disabled child are living in poverty, double the number of households with non-disabled children. And these figures were from research before the current financial crisis….