How can disabled people reduce their costs?
This week saw the release of a new report by the Extra Costs Commission, an independent inquiry set up to explore the additional costs faced by disabled people and their families.
The research found that on average, disabled people spend £550 a month on costs associated with their disability, such as buying specialist equipment. You can read more about this in our blog, or download the new report here.
The report found that one of the main reasons for these additional costs is that disabled people are under-served as consumers. But, it says, if disabled people and their families, disability organisations and others help to raise the profile of the so-called 'purple pound' (most notably, the £212bn spent by disabled households each year), much can be done to reduce the cost of living for disabled people.
The power of speaking out
One powerful example of this can be found in the story of Rita Kutt, whose four-year-old grandson Caleb has cerebral palsy. Unable to find affordable suitable clothing that fitted with his needs, Rita contacted Marks and Spencer to ask if they could make their popper vests a little bigger. "I chose them because they're a global company," she later commented, "surely if they were able to order products in mass then these would be priced lower”.
Fortunately the high street name not only listened to Rita's request, but went on to work with her, and with Scope, to develop something more suitable. Eventually, Marks and Spencer released a specialist yet affordable clothing range based on this work, including popper vests and sleepsuits. You can read more about Rita's success in her community guest post, written earlier this year.
We want to hear your ideas for reducing extra costs
This is just one example of how disabled people can leverage their considerable consumer power to help reduce extra costs and get a better deal on the products they need. Now we'd like to hear about your experiences and successes.
Are there times when you have been 'bold and loud' to make your voice heard as a consumer? What tips would you give to other disabled people to get businesses to think more about disabled consumers? Do you have any advice for reducing everyday extra costs? Let us know in the comments below.