As part of last month’s Autumn Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond announced that an additional £55m would be added to the disabled facilities grant (also known as the DFG) in 2018-19. This funding, hailed by many as a positive step, is in addition to the £650 million adult social care funding boost for English councils in 2019-20, as well as the previously announced £20.5bn increase for the NHS over the next five years.
However, although all this funding looks good on the surface, how will it actually help disabled people over the coming years?
What is DFG and How has the News Been Received?
The disabled facilities grant is used by people in order to receive money from their council. It allows them to make changes to their home or dwelling, including the installation of ramps or stairlifts, as well as the modification of bathrooms.
As a result, many disabled charities have welcomed the news of the additional money made available. However, the news hasn’t been universally welcomed, as many have commented that although the money is useful, it needs to be made available sooner and is needed to help tackle delays in the processing of applications.
What Has the Chancellor Said?
Upon announcing the measures, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced that the money could be used to ease what he called ‘immediate pressure’ on services in local authorities, particularly for people working with disabled care or elderly people.
In addition to this, the Chancellor also announced that this was an interim measure in preparation for the Social Care Green Paper, which will focus on the long-term future of the sector.
How Will the Boost Affect People?
Although £55m seems to be a substantial investment, it is actually not that much when split across the country and all its local councils. However, in spite of this, it appears as though the money will be particularly helping with council recruitment, as new staff members can be on hand to help allocate the money and lessen the delays.
However, lessening the delays may be the only impact of the measure until the Social Care Green Paper is released. Until then at least DFG will keep its limited scope, meaning some people will still be reliant on private companies for the provision of some helpful things, such as mobility scooters like the ones provided by Allied Mobility.
To conclude, the recent announcement will be highly helpful in helping people who have put in a DFG claim. However, changes will not be significant until the Social Care Green Paper is released.