Disabled People

Date 31 August 2017
Date updated 15 January 2018

People who are disabled in London and across England are more likely to be living in poverty. This is partly because of the costs associated with being disabled, and partly because disabled people are less likely to be in paid work. The poverty rate for Londoners living in a family with a disabled adult is 34%, compared to 25% for families without a disability. Disabled people in London are also more likely to be low-paid, regardless of their level of education and whether they are working full-time or part-time. The poverty gap between disabled and non-disabled people is worse in London than it is in the rest of England.

70% of London pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) do not get a C or above in their GCSE Maths and English – creating an attainment gap of 42 percentage points compared to non-SEN pupils. However, the situation is significantly worse for pupils with SEN outside London in the rest of England, with 87% attaining less than a C in their GCSE Maths and English.

Regarding welfare support, the rate of sanctions for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is much lower than for Job Seeker's Allowance. The sanction rate is down to 0.3%, from a high of 1% in 2014. The number of people claiming ESA has fallen below 300,000 for the first time since 2000 (although it is still the most common type of out-of-work benefit in London). Given the controversy about the way ESA is assessed, there are question marks over whether all those who need it are receiving this benefit. 

Disabled People: Indicators

Out-of-work benefits over time

This graph shows the proportion of the working-age adults claiming an out-of-work benefit in London and the rest of England. This is based on their ‘client group’, and the main reason why they are claiming a benefit. This includes jobseekers, Employment Support Allowance and incapacity benefits claimants, lone parents and others on income-related benefits (for example carer’s allowance) and is shown by the lines on the graph. The bars show the proportion of the working-age population that are claiming one of the four main out-of-work benefits for London only. Universal Credit (UC) will replace all of the benefits shown when it is fully rolled out, a process expected to be complete by 2022. It has been included in the graph for 2015 and 2016 only, as before then the numbers of people who had been transferred onto UC were extremely small. …

Benefit sanctions over time

The number of JSA sanctions by age, the total number of ESA sanctions from 2009 onwards and Universal Credit sanctions from 2015 onwards. Benefit sanctions are imposed when a claimant fails to comply with the conditions of a benefit without a reason that the DWP finds acceptable. Thus they only apply to the parts of benefits with conditions attached, such as JSA, or the Work-Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance (people in the work-related activity group are not expected to actively seek and apply for work, but they are expected to carry out some activities).

Under UC, they do not apply to the housing element of the benefit. They vary in length and severity depending on the benefit and why the claimant is being sanctioned. For JSA, 100% of benefit is lost for between four weeks up to a maximum of three years. Under ES…

10.3 Demographics and attainment gaps

This graph shows that pupils in London of every ethnicity have better attainment than their counterparts in the rest of England, as do pupils who speak English as a second language, and pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

At 39%, Black pupils have the highest proportion of pupils not achieving A* – C in English and maths GCSEs in London, followed by White and Mixed (34%) ethnicities. 

Pupils who do not speak English as their first language have similar attainment as those who do. This is particularly important to attainment levels in London, where 40% (and 51% in Inner London) of pupils do not speak English as a first language. In the rest of England, only 10% of pupils do not speak English as a first language.

In 22 London boroughs, pupils who do not speak English as a first language are more likely to achieve GCSEs than those who…

Low pay by disability

The low pay rates for disabled and non-disabled people by full-time or part-time work and by level of education. In all cases disabled people are more likely to be low paid: 37% of disabled people compared with 27% of non-disabled people. The difference between the low pay rate for disabled and non-disabled adults is smaller for full-time employees than for part-time employees. Of those who are working full-time, 25% of disabled people are low paid compared with 19% of non-disabled people, a six percentage point difference. However, of those who are working part-time 62% of disabled people are low paid compared with 54% of nondisabled people.* This is an eight percentage point difference. 

The pattern is the same when looking at education. Of those with A-levels or above 25% of disabled people are low paid compared with 20% of non-disable…

Disability and poverty

Disability is strongly associated with poverty, both because disability brings with it extra costs which reduce the resources available relative to non-disabled people, and because it often reduces the capacity to work. This graph shows the poverty rate for people in families with and without a disabled adult in London and the rest of England. It also shows the share of all people in poverty who belong to such a family (see bars on right hand side).

The poverty rate for people in a family with at least one disabled adult is higher in London than for those without by nine percentage points at 34%. This is also higher than the poverty rate for those in families with a disabled adult in the rest of England, which is 26%.

However, despite the higher poverty rates for families with a disabled adult in London, they make up a smaller share of pov…