LONDON, November 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Poverty and discrimination experienced by disabled people is on the rise, according to a survey conducted by Leonard Cheshire Disability.

In its annual national survey of disabled people, The Disability Review 2009, the charity found that 42% of those surveyed were struggling to live on their present income, a rise of 9% since 2007.

More than half (55%) had no savings, a rise of 6% since 2007. This is compared to 12% of the general UK population.(1) Three quarters (75%) with dependent children were living below the poverty line.(2)

The Disability Review 2009 also revealed that almost two thirds (63%) of respondents were in fuel poverty,(3) compared to 11% of the general UK population.(4) Failing to heat homes properly can cause pain, raise stress levels, and increase the likelihood of someone developing anxiety and depression.(5)

The report also found that disability discrimination continues to exist across a wide range of other areas including:

- Crime - 9% of respondents report they have been the victim of disability hate crime. - Employment - 43% of respondents believe that they have been turned down for a job or jobs because of their impairment, a rise of 7% from 2008. - Education -35% of respondents believe that teaching staff had a negative attitude towards them because of their impairment. - Social care - 50% of respondents who are living in poverty and need social care support are having to pay towards their social care, in some cases covering all of the costs of their care.

The Disability Review 2009 is the third annual in-depth examination of life for disabled people in the UK today. It considers a range of issues from voting habits to experiences in the classroom and GP surgeries.

John Knight, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: Disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people. Our survey reveals that disabled people are continuing to have very low levels of income, very low levels of savings and are clearly struggling to meet even the basic costs of living.

With disabled people entering the recession on a profoundly unequal footing to non-disabled people, the need for a government strategy to tackle disability poverty is now more urgent than ever.

Disability hate crime can destroy lives and must not be overlooked. The fact that 9% of respondents report they have been the victim of hate crime is deeply worrying. There is a clear need for more robust identification and recording of disability hate crimes, better support for disabled people who are victims of crime and improved access to justice.

A full copy of the Disability Review 2009 is available at

Leonard Cheshire Disability supports over 21,000 disabled people in the UK and works in 52 countries. We campaign for change and provide innovative services that give disabled people the opportunity to live life their way.

The survey is based on 1253 responses from disabled people aged from 18 up to over 65 from across the UK. It was distributed by Grass Roots to their database of disabled people.


(1) National Savings and Investments, 'Quarterly savings survey', summer 2007.

(2) A low income household is one that manages on 60% or less of the median national income after tax and housing costs.

(3) A household is defined as being in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth

(4) English House Condition Survey, Annual Report 2006

(5) Leonard Cheshire Disability's report; `Fuel Poverty and Disability', January 2009.

Amy Burns T: +44(0)20-3242-0313 E: Pete Lewis T: +44(0)20-3242-0265 E: Nick Murray-Leslie Chatsworth Communications T: +44(0)20-74409780 E:

SOURCE: Leonard Cheshire Disability

CONTACT: Amy Burns, T: +44(0)20-3242-0313, E:;Pete Lewis, T: +44(0)20-3242-0265, E:; NickMurray-Leslie, Chatsworth Communications, T: +44(0)20-74409780,