Interim findings from the Extra Costs Commission indicate that there are major opportunities available to reduce the additional costs disabled people often face.

The Commission has identified three main areas for change: empowering consumers, changing business practices and market intervention, and is seeking feedback on its proposals.

The Extra Costs Commission is a year-long independent inquiry that is exploring the extra costs faced by disabled people and families with disabled children in England and Wales. They have already gathered a wide range of information from disabled people and organisations, including Family Fund.

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • Disability organisations should explore the creation of a hub through which disabled consumers can find the various market comparison sites, online marketplaces and review sites that already exist for the products and services they use, and undertake marketing to raise awareness of it.
  • Disability organisations, working in partnership, should pilot an affiliate scheme for disabled people that offers discounts on products and services through partnership with key retailers.
  • Disability and consumer organisations should coordinate to advocate for a new, stronger system to amplify the voice of disabled people dissatisfied with a supplier’s services, and to improve the response to consumer complaints.
  • Disability organisations, the Government and trade bodies should collaborate in developing incentives (such as awards, innovation prizes or accreditation schemes) to influence businesses to take actions that will reduce extra costs.

Robin Hindle Fisher, Chair of the Commission and a Trustee of Family Fund, wrote in his introduction to the report "As long as the gap in the cost of living between disabled and non-disabled people is so wide, it makes it harder for disabled people to contribute equally to society. It makes it harder for disabled people to save and build for the future...We cannot afford to price out this proportion of the population."

The final report is expected in June 2015.

Read the full report on Scope's website and submit your feedback.