Independent Extra Costs Commission launched today

Update: Submissions of evidence and stories to the commission are now closed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to take part.

Today marks the launch of a year-long independent inquiry. It will explore the extra costs that disabled people and families with disabled children face in England and Wales.

Disabled people and their families should be able to learn, work and get involved in the community without extra costs. But instead they must spend £550 a month on average on disability-related costs. From paying more for transport to work to the cost of an electric wheelchair, from higher energy costs to more expensive insurance, disabled people and families with disabled children pay more just to live independent lives.

Robin Hindle Fisher chairs the Extra Costs Commission. He has brought together high-profile, expert Commissioners including independent consumer advocate and Vice Chair of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group Teresa Perchard and TV presenter and disability campaigner Sophie Morgan. They will consider evidence and steer concrete solutions to drive down extra costs.

Share your experiences of extra costs

The Commission is seeking evidence from disabled people and parents of disabled children. They want to hear:

  • your experiences of extra costs
  • how extra costs affect your life and financial situation.

Submit formal evidence to the Commission

The Commission is also seeking formal evidence from researchers, policy makers, local authorities, businesses, consumer rights experts, Disabled People’s Organisations and advice agencies, and more. They welcome evidence in response to two main questions.

1.  Rebalancing markets

Disabled people rely on private sector companies for many products and services. We’ve made huge progress in opening up opportunities for disabled people over recent years. Advances in technology have brought big improvements in independence and participation. But all too often, these come at a high – sometimes prohibitively high – cost.

Political parties and the commercial sector are starting to recognise disabled people’s spending power, but businesses, investors and governments have taken few steps to harness the so-called ‘Purple Pound’.

The Commission:

  • wants to know how the market is working for disabled people
  • wants to know about the quality, choice, price and availability of products and services
  • welcomes suggestions for how markets could better drive down extra costs.

2.  Changing infrastructure

Inaccessible housing, town-planning, transport, energy and services can make life cost more. For example there is a strong correlation between suitability of housing and disability-related spending.

The Commission:

  • wants to know how this affects disabled people.
  • welcomes suggestions on changing infrastructure to improve access, meet needs and drive down extra costs.

The Extra Costs Commission means a real opportunity to drive down the extra costs disabled people and their families face. But they need your evidence and experiences to make a difference. Please get involved.