THE number of disabled people living in poverty is about one million higher than official figures, according to a new report.
The authors of the report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) told the all-party parliamentary group on disability that the true number of people in poverty who were living in households with a disabled member was at least four million, rather than three million.
This is because official figures include cash paid to disabled people through disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA) (and now also personal independence payment).
The report’s authors – Tom MacInnes of the New Policy Institute and independent consultant Declan Gaffney – argue that this money is intended to cover some of the extra costs of disability, so should not be counted as income when trying to count the number of disabled people in poverty.
MacInnes and Gaffney told the meeting that disability poverty in the UK was relatively high compared to other wealthy European countries, while the level of employment for disabled people in the UK was very low when compared with similar European countries.
Gaffney said their research showed that employment was not the only solution to poverty.
He said: “We need to challenge the assumption that paid work is a solution to poverty among all disabled people. This is clearly not the case.”
The report is one of seven major reviews that will form part of JRF’s major anti-poverty strategy, and drew on the views of a number of leading disabled people – including Sue Bott, Kaliyah Franklin, Jenny Morris, Liz Sayce and Jane Young – who took part in a policy workshop organised last autumn by Disability Rights UK.