Disabled using high-cost credit after £28bn of financial support withdrawn
As the Government slashes £28bn from the financial support handed to disabled people, a shock new report reveals half of them are being forced to use credit cards or loans to pay for everyday essentials including clothing and food.
And as the extra costs they face soar – disability-related costs average between £800 to £1,550 a month – disabled people are three times more likely to turn to expensive doorstep loans.
The damning statistics are included in a new report published today by disability charity Scope, which reveals that disabled people are being increasingly marginalised from mainstream credit and loans as living costs across Britain are spiralling.
“Disabled people face an utterly uneven financial playing field,” said Richard Hawkes, Scope chief executive. ”If you’re disabled, preparing a cooked meal or going to work comes with big extra costs. At the same, you’re more likely to be on a lower income or out of work.
“One year on from the Paralympics it is a scandal that disabled people are turning to high-risk, high-cost credit and loans just to make ends meet.”
He warned that the situation has become critical as disabled people struggling to pay the bills are turning to high risk credit.
“So far the Government’s response has been to slash £28 billion from their financial support. But it can no longer ignore the big picture of its welfare reforms,” Mr Hawkes said.
“It must start focusing on policies that build disabled people’s financial resilience, so that they do not have to turn to risky credit and face slipping into debt.”
The report shows that disabled people are less likely to have a current account and just under one in ten have been turned down for insurance, with 22 per cent believing their impairment drives up their premiums. This leaves disabled people vulnerable to financial shocks.
Scope says it’s crucial that the Government understands the impact its welfare reforms are having on disabled people’s lives. Scope is also calling for the Government to promote financial inclusion. For example: Ensure the interests of disabled people are properly considered in the expansion of Credit Unions; Reinstate schemes like the Savings Gateway Encourage to encourage savings amongst disabled people.
“Financial support is the difference between being able to live independently and pay for essentials, and being trapped in your own home racking up debt,” explained Mr Hawkes.
“Some disabled people will always need financial support. It doesn’t make them scroungers or skivers. It simply means they can do the things everyone else does.
“This comes down to what type of society we want to live. In 2013, if we want disabled people to live independently and pay the bills we cannot take billions of pounds of support away, particularly while disabled people are financially vulnerable, and less able to build up their own financial safety net.”Tagged in: cameron, credit, disability, disabled, doorstep lenders, scope
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