Survey suggests recession is forcing more disabled people into poverty


A national survey has revealed new evidence that the recession is pushing more disabled people into poverty.

The annual survey carried out by Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) found 42 per cent of those questioned were finding it difficult or very difficult to manage on their current income, a rise of six per cent in one year.

And less than one in seven disabled people said they were living “comfortably” on their present income, according to the charity’s third annual Disability Review, which was based on a survey of more than 1,200 disabled people from across the UK in January.

More than half of the respondents said they had no savings at all, apart from pensions, a rise of three per cent from last year.

And nearly one in three said that, during the last year, there had been times when they had been unable to afford to heat their home, with nearly two-thirds living in fuel poverty.

Eleanor Gore, one of the report’s authors, said the findings “could be an indication that disabled people are being disproportionately affected by the recession”.

The survey also found that only about two in five respondents of working age were either in paid jobs or were self-employed, while more than half of those in paid work had faced discrimination in the workplace.

And an “alarming” one in three respondents with a total income of less than £100 per week had to fund their own care package, with another 16 per cent having to fund their care with a mixture of state and personal funding.

John Knight, LCD’s director of policy and campaigns, said: “With disabled people entering the recession on a profoundly unequal footing to non-disabled people, the need for a government strategy to tackle disability poverty is now more urgent than ever.”

5 November 2009