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Economic Justice

New commission looks at ways to drive down extra costs faced by disabled people

Disabled people and their families should be able to live, learn, work and get involved in their communities without extra costs getting in the way according to a new Commission launched today.  The Scope Extra Costs Commission is a year-long independent inquiry that will explore the extra costs faced by disabled people, and families with disabled children, in England and Wales. It will look at how businesses, local and national government, as well as the public and voluntary sectors can work in new and innovative ways to drive down extra costs.

 

The commission has been launched in response to Scope research, which reveals that disabled people pay a financial penalty on everyday living costs – on average £550 per month, with one in ten paying over £1000 a month. The report revealed that disabled people have a higher cost of living in three areas:

 

  • Having to spend more on everyday things like heating, or taxis to work
  • Paying for specialist items, like a wheelchair or a hoist or other equipment
  • Paying more for everyday products and services, like insurance, travel, clothes and cutlery.

 

Markets must work more efficiently

 

The Chair of the Commission, Robin Hinlde Fisher, said “The markets are failing disabled people, and they are all too often paying more than they should in many areas of their lives.

 

“The extra costs disabled people pay have a direct impact on living standards, preventing many from contributing fully to their local communities.

 

“It is crucial that companies, regulators, local government, trade bodies, and disabled people’s organisations give us their perspective.”

 

Effects of Extra Costs

 

The impact on disabled people’s finances and living standards is stark. These extra costs mean disabled people find it harder to enjoy family life fully, participate and contribute to their local communities, live independently, get into education and training, find and stay in employment, build their own financial resilience and contribute to pensions.

 

Over the next year a panel of business experts, economists, and disabled people will look at how businesses, local and national government, as well as the public and voluntary sectors can work in new and innovative ways to tackle the disability premium.

 

Find out more about the Commission here and join the debate on Twitter using #extracostscommission

 

Ellie Brawn, Public Policy Adviser at SCOPE, blogged recently, for the Barrow Cadbury Trust, about extra costs faced by disabled people and the Extra Costs Commission. Read the blog here.