Assistive tech must be brought to mass market to drive down costs, say MPs

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A parliamentary committee says the government must raise awareness of the benefits of assistive technology and bring it to the mass market with a mind to improving lives and driving down costs.

The Work and Pensions Committee’s new report believes that adopting assistive technology can help to bridge disability employment gap and improve economic productivity across the nation.

In particular, the report looked that the benefits of using assistive technology to control home environments and integrating it with smartphones and gadgets.

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The report hopes the government will challenge common perceptions of assistive technology, with employers often viewing it as costly and bespoke equipment.

It suggested that personal independence payments (PIPs) could be used by people to buy or lease assistive technology.

The report argued that the development of assistive technology is currently stunted by “outdated attitudes” and a lack of involvement of disabled people in development.

“Assistive technology can help everyone be more productive and improve their quality of life. The government must raise awareness of this fact, bring assistive technology to the mass market and, in turn, drive down costs.”

It also recommended that a consortium of developers, users and employers could be brought together to develop equipment.

The report added: “The government’s role is not simply to raise awareness. Assistive technology is a critical employment resource for individual disabled people. Mainstream assistive technology has a much wider application.

“Unlocking the full potential of assistive technology could transform our economic outlook, improve workforce efficiency and break the deadlock on the economy enforced by sluggish productivity.”

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