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The defining message of the Coalition has been one of achieving financial security for Britain.  This has been aligned with a raft of legislation designed to help the individual achieve this same financial security.  We’ve seen this from pension reform and this year’s ‘Budget for Savers’, to help with Childcare costs.

But for disabled people, achieving financial security has added complications due to the substantial extra costs that they face.  It can be very expensive to be disabled.  Scope research estimates that, on average, disabled people spend £550 a month on costs directly associated with their disability.  One in ten spends over £1000 per month.

Additional analysis shows that these extra costs have a significant impact on the financial resilience of disabled people. Disabled people have, on average, £108,000 fewer savings and assets than non-disabled people, and in the 55 – 64 age group the gap in the mean level of private pension provision wealth is £125,000.

I’ve written here before about how in tackling these extra costs, the Conservative Party can capitalise on a progressive tradition in this area. However, there is clearly an additional incentive to tackle these extra costs – doing so would significantly reinforce the story that a Conservative Government is about enabling everyone to improve their financial security.  

At Scope, we have launched an independent Extra Costs Commission. Over the course of a year, an independent panel of experts – Chaired by Robin Hindle Fisher, a disabled city businessman – will be looking at the ways in which these extra costs can be driven down by both business and government.

We’ve had a huge response.  In just three days we have received over 100 submissions from disabled people detailing the substantial extra costs they face.  What is even more remarkable is that many submissions have included ideas for how these costs could be addressed.  We are also taking formal evidence from policy experts.

A commitment to addressing the extra costs of disability would do much to show that the Conservative Party is serious about building financial security for everyone.

The Extra Costs Commission was launched on Friday 25th July 2014.  To submit evidence to the Commission please visit http://www.scope.org.uk/campaigns/extra-costs-commission

Elliot Dunster is the Parliamentary Manager of Scope. He tweets at @ElliotDunster