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Poverty: Disabled

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to include the additional costs of living with disability in official calculations and indicators of poverty. (200403)

[holding answer 23 April 2008]: We are committed to tackling all aspects of disability poverty and have already made considerable progress. The number of disabled individuals in households with an income below 60 per cent. of median on an After Housing Cost basis fell by 500,000 in Great Britain between 1998-99 and 2005-06. On a Before Housing Cost basis the number of disabled individuals in households with an income below 60 per cent. of median fell by around 100,000 over the same period.

In 2005 the Department's report ‘Review of existing research on the extra costs of disability’1 found that all studies conducted to date have concluded that there are extra costs incurred by disabled people. However, measuring these extra costs is conceptually and methodologically difficult and there is disagreement over what constitutes the extra costs disabled people face. As a result the existing evidence supporting estimates of the extra costs of disability varies widely.

In light of these findings the Department has no further work planned in this area at present, but we will continue to keep abreast of developments.

1 Working Paper No. 21, September 2005:


1. Data are taken from the Households Below Average Income series 2005-06.

2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100,000.

3. The definition of disability used by HBAI changed in 2002-03. It is not possible to separate out definitional and real effects. For 1998-99, available data exclude Northern Ireland, therefore changes across Great Britain between 1998-99 and 2005-06 have been presented.