There has been some improvement in the way disability is perceived by the general public. However, we still have a long way to go to address issues for those with disabilities in terms of access to services and with managing financial difficulties.
A survey conducted by Scope, a national disability charity, indicated that the percentage of disabled students bullied at school declined from 47% in 1994 to 38% in 2014. However, the same survey found that there had been an increase in the percentage of those with disabilities turned away from public places from 34% in 1994 to 49% in 2014. A similar concern arose in terms of those with disabilities expressing concerns about being unable to makes ends meet - 39% in 1994 rising to 49% in 2014.
Many have turned to the use of credit cards and loans to pay for essential items such as food and clothing. There has also been considerable use of food banks to meet basic nutritional need. It is well documented evidence that those with disabilities spend on average £550 more per month on disability related costs such as increased heating bills, purchasing privately sourced equipment to aid mobility and paying for taxis to help with getting about due to the lack of or inadequacies of community transport services.
In my previous article, I outlined the steps the current Conservative government has taken to reduce the national debt. The consequence of such a deficit reduction strategy on individuals has no doubt affected by disability. These groups are affected in two different ways due to austerity measures: cuts in their benefit by the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) and the reduction of social care support provided by local authorities.
I am Ripon Ray, a qualified Debt Advisor for the last 5 years. This is my personal blog, all views are my own but the content is based on factual data available at the time of writing.