A lively roundtable discussion was held in London yesterday about the unfairness of the extra costs associated with disability.
Campaigning charity, Scope has been researching the issues surrounding the extra costs associated with disability which can range from having to pay for transport options because of a lack of suitable public transport in their area, right through to not getting the best utility tariffs as a result of inaccessible websites. Scope claims that disabled people pay on average £550 in extra outgoings every month (with a third paying over £1,000 extra per month) because of their disability.
Among the assembled delegates were representatives from financial organisations: Money Advice Service and the Financial Conduct Authority as well as high street bank Barclays as well as organisations from other fields connected with disability such as: Business Disability Forum, Disability Rights UK and Rica. Able Magazine was represented by editor, Tom Jamison.
The discussion sessions focussed on what barriers exist for disabled people in finding better value for money as well as how some of those barriers might be addressed. The consensus amongst the delegates was twofold. Rica representative, Dr Jasper Holmes pointed out that, of course, “disabled people buy things that other people didn’t have to buy” and suggested that brokering and block buying, perhaps by aligned associations could have an impact on purchasing price (in the same way that the Motability Scheme is able to achieve significant discounts for its members on vehicles and car insurance).
The second and perhaps more surprising common ground focussed on the ‘bigger picture’ with Able Magazine editor Tom Jamison reminding the delegates of the inherent dangers of differentiating service provision into overly specific niches. “We should be looking at making things better for everybody” he said, adding that: “Able bodied people also hate contacting their banks or utility companies. If we can encourage simpler universal design solutions into systems and services, we would all benefit and escape the trap of people blaming those termed ‘vulnerable’ for higher prices”.
Scope will be looking closely at the discussion as well as other evidence and reporting their findings next year.