Like in so many other countries, disability and poverty in the U.K. are rampant. However, people often overlook the disabled in the U.K. because it is not a developing country. In the U.K., 14.6 million people are disabled and face prejudice because of their disabilities.
The Equality Act of 2010
The Equality Act of 2010 includes rights for those with disabilities. It defines disability as one having “a physical and mental impairment for a substantial and long-term negative effect on one’s ability to perform daily activities.”
Rights under the Equality Act include protection from prejudice and discrimination based on one’s disability. People with disabilities often experience discrimination in education and in the workplace.
Disability and Education
Of the 14.6 million people battling disability and poverty in the U.K., 9% are children, according to Scope. Children with disabilities are more likely to experience bullying and exclusion from the education system.
As of 2021, of the people with a disability in the U.K., “24.9% had a degree or equivalent as their highest education.” Comparatively, 42.7% of the non-disabled people had a degree. Disabled people are almost three times more likely to not have a degree at all.
Disability and Employment
Because they are less likely to receive an educational degree, disabled people in the U.K. are “less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people.” The employment rate for disabled people in the U.K. is 53%, while the employment rate for non-disabled people is 82%, according to Scope. The employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people is 29%.
Because the employment rate is comparatively lower for disabled people than non-disabled people, poverty for the disabled is likely. In 2014, 18.4% of the disabled people within the working age, 16-64, experienced food poverty. Meanwhile, disabled people above the age of 65 are twice as likely to experience food poverty, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report.
The Disability Resource Centre
The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) is a nonprofit organization that helps battle poverty in the U.K. by empowering disabled people. In 1992, the Birmingham Disability Rights Group established DRC, and now, it advocates to improve the lives of disabled people across the U.K.
It is a disabled-led organization that offers a variety of services including advocacy, life skills development, employment and training opportunities, among many other services. Its mission is to give disabled people an opportunity to live out their full potential in society.
In 2019/2020, DRC served more than 3,600 people with 3,000 more people using its e-learning portal. Additionally, during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, DRC conducted 366 outreach activities to empower disabled people across the U.K.
Although disability and poverty in the U.K. are growing problems, organizations like the Disability Resource Centre are giving disabled people a voice and an opportunity to thrive in a hostile society.
– Chris Karenbauer