Education & Family

Disabled are socially excluded says Scope survey

Wheelchair user
Image caption Disabled people are "pushed to the fringes", says charity

Nine out of 10 people in Britain have never had a disabled person in their house for a social occasion, claims a survey from a disability charity.

Scope says the survey shows that disabled people are socially excluded.

While the survey found widespread backing for equal opportunities, in practice few people have any personal dealings with people with disabilities.

The charity's chief executive, Richard Hawkes, says disabled people are "invisible in day-to-day life".

The Scope survey, based on a sample of more than 2,000 adults across Britain, suggests public support for the rights of disabled people to be part of mainstream society is not matched by everyday experience.

It suggests people with physical and mental disabilities remain excluded from many people's social or work life.

'Fringes of society'

According to the Scope survey, almost two in five people do not know anyone outside of their own family who is disabled.

And only a fifth of people in the survey have ever worked with a disabled person.

According to Scope, about one in 10 of the non-pensioner population is disabled.

The survey did not ask people why they had not invited disabled people to their social events, but a spokeswoman for the charity suggested that reasons could include worries about physical access and also an "embarrassment factor".

"It's not that people are nasty, but they might not know what to say. The less familiar they are with disabled people, the more the embarrassment. The unwillingness to offend can cause the exclusion," she said.

Mr Hawkes described the survey's findings as "shocking evidence" of the extent to which disabled people are pushed to the "fringes of society".

He warned that any government spending cuts could isolate disabled people even further.

"The government needs to carry out a full impact assessment before making any cuts to ensure they understand the full consequences of reductions in critical support such as Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit. These form a vital lifeline for many disabled people and their families."

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