The Labour Party-commissioned taskforce on breaking the link between disability and poverty, of which I was a member, concluded in its final report published today that Britain can and must invest public resources more effectively than at present to create the infrastructure of support that will enable disabled people to escape and remain resilient to poverty. This is especially so in these tough economic times when, despite public spending cuts, millions of pounds of public money is being wasted on poorly designed, ineffective and bureaucratic systems and approaches such as the Work Capability Assessment, the Work Programme and fragmented public services. Disabled people frequently face more red-tape than the average small business in securing the support just to lead lives everyone else takes for granted. This contributes to, rather than helps relieve, poverty, undermining people’s life chances. So we call for reform of assessments which should focus on people’s interaction with the world around them, including in the labour market, rather than just at the functional impact of their impairment or health condition. We back the proposals of Disability Rights UK to replace the Work Programme with localised, personalised employment support that places disabled people and employers in the driving seat. We propose an uplift in investment in Access to Work given the clear returns to the Treasury of the scheme. We call for greater integration of employment support, health, social care and education around people in support of their participation. And we seek a re-commitment to and improvement of our approach to disability equality, including assessing the impact of policies, removing the costs of employment tribunals in discrimination cases and renewing the institutional support for disability equality including the EHRC and the ODI. We also explore how disability related extra costs of living might be reduced for example through national and local government using its buying power to reduce the costs of aids and equipment and through preventing benefits being swallowed up by social care charges. We conclude however that disability related poverty cannot be tackled without further investment in a disability costs benefit. This will take time to develop and implement, but we believe it a matter of social justice that as disabled people have borne so much of the ‘austerity’ spending cuts, despite pre-existing poverty and exclusion, that they should be priority beneficiaries of the proceeds of inclusive economic growth.