In March 2023, Habinteg commissioned the London School of Economics (LSE) and Political Science Housing and Communities research group to undertake research into the social and economic value of wheelchair user homes.
The research was designed to review and apply existing and extensive research evidence around the costs and benefits of accessible housing to the specific question of providing more new build wheelchair accessible homes.
It has two main elements:
1. A cost-benefit analysis, assessing the economic and social value of wheelchair user homes. This is set out in three cost-benefit models based on three groups of wheelchair user households:
Households with children who use wheelchairs
Working age, adult, wheelchair user households.
People in later life who use wheelchairs (aged 65 and over).
2. A qualitative analysis of 17 interviews with wheelchair users, to understand how living in a suitable wheelchair user home impacts them or how they are affected by the lack of a suitable home.
These interviews provided insight into the impacts of a wheelchair user homes on varied aspects of life, including family cohesion, independence, parenting, community engagement, and physical and mental wellbeing. We have used quotes from the interviewees in this report with pseudonyms to protect participants’ privacy.
The main finding - which you can read in our summary report, Living not existing: The economic & social value of wheelchair user homes - is that the overall positive benefits of new wheelchair accessible housing appear to clearly be greater than the costs.
Positive financial value
•For a working age wheelchair user, the benefit of living in a wheelchair user home can be valued at around £94,000 over a 10 year period.
• For a later years wheelchair user household (aged 65 and over), the benefit could be around £100,000 over a 10 year period.
• For a household with a child who is a wheelchair user, the benefit of living in a suitable wheelchair user home could be around £67,000 over a 10 year period.
The value calculations combine reduced public expenditure – for example to the NHS, Local Authorities and welfare benefits – with revenue generation through elements such as tax and national insurance payments when disabled people or their families are able to take up or increase paid work.
These estimations of benefits should be regarded as indicative of the nature and extent of the gains.
Benefits vs costs
Habinteg is calling on government to: