You may be aware that the Government has chosen to deny over 1.9 million disabled people £20 a week which would help them to survive the Covid-19 crisis, leaving many people unable to pay for rent, food and heating.

It’s 11 months since disabled people on legacy benefits, including Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance, were refused this £20 weekly lifeline, while people on Universal Credit have been getting the £20 top-up since March last year. This has led to the devastating findings shown in the Disability Benefits Consortium’s report Pandemic Poverty, which outlines the desperate situation facing disabled people.

Over the last decade, the disabled community has been disproportionally hit by austerity and, in 2018, 31% of disabled people were living in poverty – a shameful statistic in one of the richest countries in the world. Many more of the most vulnerable in society have joined those already in poverty and been left to struggle through the pandemic without adequate support.

In Wednesday’s budget, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak must finally show disabled people – who have borne the brunt of Covid-19, tragically and avoidably making up six out of every ten UK Covid deaths –that they matter by granting them the £20 uplift. Failure to do so will push many into poverty, and put many at risk.

You can find out more about the Disability Benefits Consortium here

Francesca Martinez

Comedian, writer and campaigner