There are at least one million BME disabled people in the UK and this number is growing, yet there is little research into how the lives of disabled BME individuals could be improved.
With that in mind, Scope and the Equalities National Council (ENC), a user led Black and Minority Ethnic BME disabled peoples' organisation has carried out research to identify how BME disabled people, their families and carers feel about the services available to them and how this could be improved in the future.
The report – ‘Over-looked Communities, Over-due Change’ – jointly published by the ENC and Scope, has come out of a real need to understand how BME disabled people, their families and carers feel about the services available to them so they can be improved.
There are at least one million BME disabled people in the UK and many live in acute poverty. Statistics show that 44% of BME disabled people live in household poverty, compared with 32% of all disabled people and 17% of the population as a whole.
This figure has not taken into account the additional costs all disabled people face – therefore the true levels of poverty is likely to be even higher. Individual incomes for BME disabled people are 30% lower than for the general population and less than 4 in 10 BME disabled people of working age are in employment.
The report makes a number of recommendations both to policy-makers, service providers and Local Authority Commissioners. The ENC believes that BME disabled people’s needs and views have often fallen between the two areas of disability and race equality policy.
Finding ways to bring these two policy fields together is extremely important for developing an effective support for BME disabled people.
Recommendations for policy makers include developing a national race equality strategy which includes BME disabled people’s needs and views, and ensures that they are recognised in the forthcoming Disability Strategy.
Julie Charles, Founder and Chief Executive of the Equalities National Council said,
We have the ear of the government, but no financial assistance. The government are aware, but are not doing anything.
Charles is hopeful that the new report will force the Government to think seriously about the issue and consider the recommendations made by the ENC.
By Alex Boadi