Disability Poverty in Wales

7 March 2011

This report looks at the economic hardships faced by disabled people in Wales today. The problem of disability poverty is particularly acute in Wales compared to the rest of the UK, and this report seeks to identify the barriers that prevent people from escaping poverty — from insufficient employment support and discrimination in the workplace to inadequate public transport provision and an unfair social care charging system.

Disability Poverty in Wales includes a number of policy proposals that focus on how the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) can tackle disability poverty.

Among the main findings:

  • Disabled people in Wales are almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to live in a low income household.
  • 33% (130,000) of working age disabled people in Wales live in poverty — a figure higher than anywhere else in the UK. Once the additional costs of disability are factored in that figure rises to over 50%.
  • 31% of households with a disabled adult live in fuel poverty — double the figure in 2004.
  • In Wales a non-disabled person is twice as likely to have a job as a disabled person and this disparity is greater in Wales than anywhere else in the UK.
  • 23% of disabled people have had to turn down a job due to a lack of accessible transport.

The main recommendations are:

  • The WAG needs to gather better information on disability issues in Wales to provide a clear view of the extent and the impact of disability poverty. To this end, it should publish an annual Disability Monitor bringing together information from relevant surveys, adding further questions to those surveys where necessary, and commissioning additional research in order to fill any gaps.
  • The WAG should develop and implement a distinct disability poverty strategy aimed at supporting working aged disabled adults in Wales.