Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Cambridge MP discusses how expensive everyday life can be for the disabled

Julian joins Scope shop Manager, Rio Ford (left) and Assistant
Manager, Sally Parr to find out more about the campaign
MP Julian Huppert has been discussing the issue that disabled people can pay up to an extra £1,000 a month just to live the same lives as everyone else.

He is backing a national campaign to raise awareness of the problem and met people in Cambridge who told him about their experiences.

The campaign has been launched by the disability charity, Scope, and Julian visited its shop in Cambridge’s Burleigh Street.

People have been recording their feelings about the issue on postcards which are displayed in the shop window.

Earlier this month, Scope launched an Independent Commission on Extra Costs. The year-long commission will find out how to get disabled consumers a better deal and drive down costs.

And in a bid to help the public understand the problem the charity has released an online game called The Price is Wrong, a retro-style quiz which challenges players to guess how much everyday items cost disabled people.

Through its ground-breaking report Priced Out the charity discovered disabled people pay a financial penalty on everyday living costs – on average £550 per month, with one in ten paying over £1,000 a month. They have to pay extra in three ways:

       • Having to buy more of everyday things like heating, or taxis to work
       • Paying for specialist items, like a wheelchair or a hoist or other equipment
       • Paying more for everyday products and services, like insurance, travel, clothes and cutlery

The charity has uncovered shocking stories of £31 for a knife, fork, and spoon, wheelchairs that cost more than new cars, and high-chairs marketed at disabled children that are over five times as expensive as similar models.

Julian said: “These extra costs are making it extremely tough for disabled people, many of whom already struggle to live independently or find and stay in employment. I have already been working with organisations such as Whizz-Kidz and You Can Bike Too - it is clear from them how expensive specialised equipment can be.

“This campaign is hugely worthwhile; it’s bringing this issue to the attention of the wider public through some clever ideas especially the postcards in the shop window and the online game.

“I hope through this campaign, there will be a fairer deal for disabled people across the country.”

Rio Ford, Manager of Cambridge’s Scope shop said: “It’s great to have Julian visit our shop to find out what our customers think about disabled people paying more at every turn.

“We’ve had a great reaction to the posters and postcards in the shop and most people almost can’t believe how expensive everything is for disabled people.

“We have fantastic customers, and I’d like to thank them for taking this issue to their hearts.”