The poverty premium, disabled people and “austere times”

I was taken with Save the Children’s excellent report on UK poverty rip-off. In their continually good work on the poverty premium, Save the Children has shown that the typical low income family paid an extra £1,280 in 2010 than wealthier families.

In particular, low income families pay:

  • £598 a year for car insurance, compared to £310 average for wealthier families
  • £99 for home insurance, compared to £67
  • £1,134 for gas and electricity, compared to £881
  • £670 for a basic household cooker, compared to £239.

These differences arise mainly because lower income families do not have access to the best deals, or information about them.

There are significant echoes here with Contact A Family’s survey last year on the costs families with disabled children face. As I blogged here, they found that:

  • 23% of families had to turn off their heating to save money
  • 14% go without food
  • 73% said they had to forego leisure activities and days out
  • 68% are not taking any holidays

It is a well-established fact that families with disabled people disproportionately live in poverty. For example, 29% of families live in poverty when at least one family member is disabled, compared with 20% of families with no disabled people. Furthermore, disabled people are more likely to live in persistent poverty compared to non-disabled people (11% compared to 5%).

Behind these numbers are stories of the significant hardship that a considerable number of disabled people, be they adults or young people, and their families encounter.

We are about to live in “austere” times. These figures for me are a reminder that, for some, times already are – and have been for as long as they can remember – “austere”, and will only get worse over the next few years.


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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