Budget 21 - Welcome for extra funds but more to do
October 13 2020
Immediate, Dublin 13th, October, 2020
The Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI welcomes the announcement of an extra €100 million for disability health services in todays’ Budget.
The €100m attempts to address the extra disability related Covid-19 costs and keep existing services going. The Government must be commended for this.
We note this €100 million is to go to;
- An increase in Personal Assistant, PA, hours.
- A commitment to badly needed, extra respite services.
- Support for 17,000 school leavers
With support from 16,000 additional posts across the health sector.
In addition, there is;
- €20 million to support disability support services through the continued delivery of the “Transforming Lives” policy.
- €10 million Covid-19 stability fund for Community and Voluntary groups.
- €5 million for extra home care hours to alleviate community waiting lists.
- €5 million dedicated to community-based dementia care.
- €38 million for new measures under Sharing the VisionMental Health.
We are disappointed and concerned to see no increase in Disability Allowance.
While we acknowledge positives, we must set these measures against some very stark facts. There has been a near collapse of disability services hit by a double disaster. Firstly, extra Covid-19 costs and secondly a collapse in fundraising for the 80% of services provided by the voluntary sector. DFI’s 120 plus members are in the community and voluntary sector.
And there are existing pressures which haven’t changed since our Pre-Budget Submission, mainly;
- Pre-Covid, €211 million each year for five years was needed to just keep crumbling community disability services going.
- Now voluntary disability services are running deficits of €40 million plus.
“It is critical that the full costs of COVID-19 are covered for disability services so that they are able to support people with disabilities as we head into the next wave of the pandemic”, said DFI’s CEO, John Dolan. “Clearly while welcome, €100 million does not fill the gap”.
“We can estimate1 that six out of ten deaths from the virus are made up of people with disabilities. So, this is not an area to skimp on, especially now”, said Dolan.
These at-risk citizens cannot face into a very worrying winter without securely funded services to rely on.
“Our Shared Future”, the Programme for Government agreed post Covid, set a high ambition, “…we have signalled to those with a disability that we are now serious about making a difference – a difference that will make things better.”
“Delivery in this Budget is welcome, but much more will be needed to see this commitment through,” said John Dolan.
DFI look forward to seeing the spending estimates and further details of the disability spending.
For further information contact;
DFI Communications Manager: Clare Cronin at 086-0277824, firstname.lastname@example.org