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Survey maps the social barriers faced by disabled people

(8 December 2011)

The first major survey to explore the barriers that disabled people face to participating in British society has produced a detailed picture of their experiences across work, transport and education.

The Life Opportunities Survey (PDF file, 1.8 MB) compares how disabled and non-disabled people participate in society, and also looks at issues such as living standards, housing, discrimination and crime.

The report for the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) says that 26 per cent of adults in Britain have rights under the disability provisions of the Equality Act.

More than twice as many adults with impairments (57 per cent) experienced barriers to employment as those without an impairment (26 per cent), while 75 per cent of adults with impairments experienced barriers to using transport, compared with 60 per cent of those without impairments.

The survey found that 27 per cent of households with at least one person with an impairment reported finding making loan repayments a heavy burden, compared with 14 per cent of households without any people with impairments.

Of those disabled people who reported discrimination in the previous 12 months, health staff were most frequently held responsible (29 per cent), followed by strangers in the street (26 per cent) and employers (25 per cent).

Interim findings from the survey were published in December 2010, but the final results were published this week, and are based on more than 30,000 interviews with adults in 20,000 households, although residents of institutions such as nursing and care homes have been excluded.

The ODI said the government would use the results to target policies and resources where they were most needed.

News provided by John Pring at