Almost half of people in poverty are disabled or living in a household with a disabled person, according to a new report.

The report from the New Policy Institute, Disability and poverty, which was commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, says that “reducing poverty among disabled people has to be at the heart of any attempts to reduce poverty overall in the United Kingdom”. It finds that:

  • 28% of people in poverty are disabled, including 310,000 disabled children.
  • A further 20% of people in poverty live in a household with a disabled person.
  • A quarter of working-age disabled people are in ‘deep’ poverty, with an income below 50% of the median income, compared with 13% of working-age people without a disability.
  • Low pay rates for disabled people are higher than those for non-disabled people, at 34% compared with 27%.
  • Disabled people face higher costs than non-disabled people, with 18% of working-age disabled people unable to afford basic items because of their cost.

Adam Tinson, senior researcher at the New Policy Institute, said: "These findings confirm that disabled people must be at the centre of attempts to reduce poverty in the UK.”

"Not only is disability a feature of nearly half of the households in poverty, but there is a range of other disadvantages in the labour market and participation in life for disabled people.

"If the Government is serious about improving people's life chances, it must tackle poverty for disabled people, and it must do it in conjunction with disabled people themselves."

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund, said: “We know that the cost of raising a disabled child can be up to three times more than that of a child without a disability, and these costs have a substantial ongoing impact on families’ lives and the opportunities available to them.”

“In the last five years, we have seen a 23% increase in applications for our grants – from 69,221 to 85,027. This reflects an acute need for support with the extra costs that are faced by those raising a disabled child.”

“Last year’s Extra Costs Commission report made a number of recommendations to drive down the costs of products and services for which disabled people pay more. Action must be taken to help reduce these costs and ease the pressures families face on a daily basis.”

Download the full report from the New Policy Institute website.