Disabled forced to turn to high-cost credit

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The Independent Online

As the Government slashes £28bn from the financial support handed to disabled people, a report published this week suggests half of them are being forced to use credit cards or loans to pay for everyday essentials.

And as the extra costs they face soar – disability-related costs average between £800 to £1,550 a month – disabled people are three times more likely to turn to expensive doorstep loans.

The damning statistics are included in a report by disability charity Scope, which reveals that disabled people are being increasingly marginalised from mainstream credit and loans as living costs across Britain are spiralling.

"Disabled people face an utterly uneven financial playing field," said Richard Hawkes, Scope chief executive. "If you're disabled, preparing a cooked meal or going to work comes with big extra costs. At the same, you're more likely to be on a lower income or out of work.

"One year on from the Paralympics it is a scandal that disabled people are turning to high-risk, high-cost credit and loans just to make ends meet."

He warned that the situation has become critical as disabled people struggling to pay the bills are turning to high risk credit. "So far the Government's response has been to slash £28bn from their financial support. But it can no longer ignore the big picture of its welfare reforms," Mr Hawkes said.

"It must start focusing on policies that build disabled people's financial resilience, so that they do not have to turn to risky credit and face slipping into debt."

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