Recession hitting disabled people hard, says report


Disabled people are facing rising levels of poverty and discrimination as a result of the recession, according to a new report.

The Disability and the Downturn report, by Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD), is the latest to suggest that disabled people could be suffering disproportionately from the recession.

The report says there is “little cause for optimism”, with disabled people facing “rising levels of poverty and discrimination, underpinned by extensive pre-existing disadvantage”.

LCD’s research suggests disabled people are “increasingly struggling to meet even the basic costs of living during the downturn”, the report adds.

And it says that public spending cuts would have a “disastrous impact” on disabled people, as they are more likely to rely on the NHS, social services and public transport.

The report comes less than three weeks after a campaigning coalition led by Disability Alliance published a “disability manifesto” that called for an end to disability poverty by 2025, and for political parties to back 17 suggested policies that would provide disabled people with “routes out of poverty”.

The LCD report points to figures published in November, in its annual Disability Review, in which more than two in five disabled people (42 per cent) said they were finding it difficult to manage on their present income – up nearly 10 percentage points since 2007.

The review – based on a survey of more than 1,200 disabled people from across the UK in January 2009 – also found less than one in seven disabled people were living “comfortably” on their present income.

The new report says restrictions on state-funded social care “continue to have a detrimental impact on disabled people’s financial, physical and emotional wellbeing”.

This must be tackled, it adds, because they already face inequality in employment, income levels, skills and qualifications, and savings.

The report says there is a “compelling business case for putting disabled people’s interests at the centre of the nation’s response to recession”.

It also calls on the government to draw up a dedicated strategy to tackle disability poverty, protect public spending, reform welfare in a way that supports disabled people, and ensure support is available to everyone with social care needs.

29 December 2009

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