Leonard Cheshire: fewer disabled people using social services

Disability charity Leonard Cheshire has revealed a sharp drop in the number of disabled people using social services over the past year.

More people were relying on informal care or “simply going without”, according to the charity’s annual Disability Review, published today.

Just under one-fifth of disabled people accessed social care in 2007 – a 15% reduction on the previous year, which the charity suggested could be due to tightening eligibility criteria.

Decline in disabled people’s incomes

The review also found that disabled people’s incomes had declined, with more than half living on less than £300 a week, and a quarter had sought financial help from family or friends.

The results, based on a survey of 1,156 disabled people in the UK, were collected before the credit crunch had taken effect.

“With disabled people both more likely to live in poverty than non-disabled people, and likely also to face higher day-to-day costs, the case for action is clear – a difficult economic situation makes the issue even more pressing,” the review said.

Discrimination also continued to be an issue, with nine out of 10 disabled people believing there was prejudice against them despite improvements in anti-discrimation legislation.

More disabled people enter employment

Numbers of disabled people in employment did slightly increase last year and a quarter of people entered self-employment – a 6% rise on the previous year.

Levels of political engagement were well above the general population – with 77% of disabled people voting in the last general election, and two-thirds in the last local government elections. More than a quarter of disabled people had also presented views to their local councillor.

More information

Leonard Cheshire

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