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Disabled people 'paying more for same lives as others'

Research from Scope found disabled people pay £550 per month extra on living costs each month.
Research from Scope found disabled people pay £550 per month extra on living costs each month. Credit: Reuters

Disabled people are "having to pay more than they should just to live the same lives as others", the chair of a new independent commission into living costs says.

City businessman Robin Hindle Fisher, who will lead the new Commission on Extra Costs, says markets aren't working efficiently enough for disabled people.

The commission will seek to find out how to get disabled consumers a better deal on anything from taxi fares and energy bills to wheelchairs.

The extra costs disabled people pay have a direct impact on living standards, prevent many from contributing fully to their local communities, and from doing many of the things most of us take for granted.

– Robin Hindle Fisher

Disabled people pay £550 'penalty' each month

A commission has been launched into why disabled adults spend around £36bn a year on extra costs due to their disability.

It comes after new research conducted with ITV News found people pay a "financial penalty" of an average £550 per month when it comes to living costs.

The study from Scope suggests one in ten people with a disability pay £1,000 extra per month.

The organisation's Priced Out report also found that disabled people:

  • Are twice as likely to have unsecured debt amounting to more than half of their household income
  • Are three times more likely to use doorstep loans
  • Have £108,000 fewer savings and assets than non-disabled people on average
  • Have smaller pension pots - among 55-64-year-olds, non-disabled people have on average £125,000 more in private pension savings
  • Are often turned down for insurance - six in ten rejected for cover said it was because of their disability.

Problem debt 'will not evaporate with return to growth'

A return to economic growth is not enough to make the household debts built up before 2008 "simply evaporate", a finance expert warned.

Matthew Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation said:

It would be a serious mistake to think that the legacy of problem debt built up in the pre-crisis years will simply evaporate with a return to economic growth.

The magnitude of the stock of debt is simply too large, given expectations that income growth will be gradual at best.

And while the mortgage market largely remains competitive, tighter lending criteria means that some highly-stretched borrowers face limited choices. There is a pressing need for regulation to respond to this new context.

– Matthew Whittaker

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Interest rate rise could force repayments 'up by £400'

Mortgage repayments could jump by at least £400 every year if interest rates rise by 1%, a think tank warned.

The Resolution Foundation gave indications of how changes in mortgage rates could impact on repayments.

  • A rate of 3.2%, which corresponds with current average mortgage rates, means someone with a 25-year mortgage of £150,000 pays £727 a month.
  • But if this rate increases to 3.7%, the monthly cost is £767, amounting to around £480 a year more.
  • If the rate jumps another percentage point, to 4.7%, the monthly cost is £851 and the mortgage holder pays in the region of £1,488 more a year than they would on a rate of 3.2%.
  • Moving the mortgage rate up to 5.7% means the mortgage holder pays £939 a month, or around £2,544 a year more than on a rate of 3.2%.

2 million mortgage payers 'at risk' from interest rate rise

An estimated two million mortgage payers would struggle to cope with a rise in interest rates, a think-tank has warned.

Read: Business leaders predict interest rates rise early in 2015

Homes
Even a small rise in interest rates could threaten the financial security of some homeowners, the think tank warned. Credit: PA

The Resolution Foundation warned the number of households spending more than one third of their income on keeping a roof over their head would balloon to 2.3 million by 2018 - even with a "relatively benign" raise.

The more ominous situation of households forced to put half their monthly income towards their mortgage could triple to 0.6 million to 1.1 million.

Both scenarios are based on assumptions that the Bank of England base rate, which has been at a historic 0.5% low for over five years, will approach 3% by 2018, in line with market expectations.

Read: Poll: 55% think savers are being made to pay for economic crisis

Govt to take student loan recommendations 'seriously'

The Department for Business has welcomed an MPs' report that claims the student loans system is "at tipping point" due to Government miscalculations, saying it will take the recommendations "seriously".

A spokeswoman said: "The costs of the loan system are based on projections of graduate repayments over the next 35 years. These projections will continue to fluctuate due to numerous macroeconomic variables, and present no immediate pressure on the system.

An MPs' report that claims the student loans system is "at tipping point" due to Government miscalculations.
An MPs' report that claims the student loans system is "at tipping point" due to Government miscalculations. Credit: Johnny Green/PA Archive

"The Government is committed to ensuring that the taxpayer is receiving value for money.

"This is why we are continuing to work with the Student Loans Company on improving best practice and have already dramatically tightened the regime for recouping repayments from graduates both domestically and overseas."

Government 'has worrying student loans record'

The Department for Business has a "worrying record" of miscalculating student loans repayments, a group of influential MPs has warned.

More disturbing is the fact that independent forecasters have been recommending improvements to the Government's methodology for some years, which the department has ignored.

We recommend that it starts to listen now.

– Commons Business Select Committee report

The committee's report goes on to suggest that the Government is already struggling to collect student loan debts, with approximately 14,000 graduates living overseas behind on their repayments.

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