Almost a quarter of families with disabled children in the UK are going without heating while 14% are going without food according to a survey by the charity Contact a Family.
Its survey, Counting the Costs 2010, found more than half of the families had borrowed money from family and friends and more than 40% had applied for charity grants. Due to their caring responsibilities, around 60% of the parents were unable to work and 45% paid more for child care because their child was disabled.
The report also found that 73% of the families were going without days out or leisure time, while 68% were never able to take a holiday.
Almost every figure had risen since Contact a Family carried out similar research in 2008. The charity said the findings prove that the situation is now “the norm” and not a temporary by-product of the economic crisis.
Srabani Sen, chief executive of Contact a Family, said: “Time and time again research shows that families with disabled children have an above-average risk of living in poverty. Steps must be taken to address this imbalance from the government, from businesses and employers, from local authorities and the voluntary sector.”
Sen called on the government to “pay particular attention to ensuring that families with disabled children are genuinely protected”, in this autumn’s comprehensive spending review.