Headlines: January 9th, 2008

Disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as those without disabilities according to new research from the charity Leonard Cheshire. In a study it found they are also more likely to live in poverty now than was the case a decade ago.

The charity’s report, ‘Disability Poverty in the UK’, shows an estimated three million disabled people living in relative poverty while on average their day to day living costs to pay for basics such as mobility aids, care and transport, are 25 per cent higher than for non-disabled people.

The report calls on the Government to develop a strategy to end disability poverty, which it claims is the missing link in the overall strategy to tackle poverty among children and older people. Leonard Cheshire Disability says this is the first report to define and quantify the full extent of disability poverty in the UK , going beyond just finance and income.

It found 49 per cent of disabled people had no savings, mostly because their incomes were way below the national average. It reveals, too, that disabled people face discrimination in education and they are more than twice as likely to have no qualifications.

The report contains a number of recommendations on issues from savings to housing and outlines a series of indicators to monitor all aspects of disability poverty, from income to quality of life. Its author, Guy Parckar, the Public Policy Manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability says the issue of disability poverty is one of the most significant problems currently facing the country. “The failure to specifically tackle disability poverty represents a gaping hole in the government’s otherwise strong record on poverty. Our report sets out a route for the government to begin to tackle this massively important issue and start the work to end disability poverty,” he said.