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Report highlights links between disability and poverty

Report highlights links between disability and poverty
20th September 2018 Ian Streets

A new report from an independent commission reveals that people with a disability are much more likely than non-disabled people to be living in poverty.
The Social Metrics Commission (SMC) says that nearly half of the 14.2 million people in poverty live in families with a disabled person.
The research recognises “the inescapable costs of disability”, after taking into account the value of disability benefits.
The SMC was founded in 2016 and brought together thinkers from the right and left with data and analytical experts to develop a new approach to measuring poverty.
Currently there is no agreed UK government measure of poverty and the SMC’s mission is to provide a new consensus around poverty measurement that enables action, informs policy making and so improves the lives of people in poverty in real ways.
The report says: “The evidence demonstrates that disabled people face extra costs to do the same things as those without a disability. This means that they incur inescapable and highly differentiated costs that reduce their available resources.
“It is also likely that these costs are, at least in part, responsible for the fact that measures of material deprivation are much higher for disabled families than for non-disabled families with the same level of income.”
The findings add that disability benefits including Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance are typically included in calculations of net incomes, but without recognition of the increased costs that those benefits are designed to help disabled people meet.
The report states: “This results in many disabled families incorrectly appearing to have resources sufficient to lift them above the poverty line.”
The SMC identifies difficulties in making accurate calculations because some families do not take up the benefits, some payments may exceed the extra costs faced by some families and other payments may be too low. It plans to produce a technical paper to explore the issues in more detail.
It’s not for us to get involved in the politics around disability benefits, but the message we take from this is that in many cases rising costs are a result of the inconvenience which is inflicted on disabled people by failing to take an inclusive approach when designing property, products and services.
To view the report please visit: http://socialmetricscommission.org.uk/social-metrics-commission-launches-a-new-measure-of-uk-poverty/

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