Energy bills: Disabled woman chooses between food and heating as energy bills soar | Personal Finance | Finance


“I would put a challenge to anyone in the Government to come and live in my house for a week and see how a disabled person lives on what we’re receiving.”

Commenting on the crisis, James Taylor, director of strategy at disability equality charity Scope, said: “Disabled people are being hit hardest by eyewatering energy costs. We’re inundated with heart-breaking calls from disabled people who haven’t eaten for days, who can’t afford the energy to charge wheelchairs and stairlifts, but are still racking up huge energy debts.

“We need a long-term solution because life costs more if you are disabled.”

With intense cost pressures prevailing, Scope research has found disabled households are self-rationing. Up to 43 percent are said to have cut back on electricity and gas usage, and 38 percent have had to reduce water usage.

Scope has also seen numerous safeguarding concerns, with callers feeling hopeless and suicidal amid mounting bills.

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service has received more than double the calls (up 111 percent) since this time last year, with a third of callers in debt averaging around £800, and more than a third of all callers were said to have medical equipment which needs energy.

Scope is calling on the Government to bring forward the disabled cost of living payment and legislate for a social energy tariff for disabled people with high energy usage linked to their conditions, and for those on the lowest incomes.

Louise Rubin, head of policy and campaigns at Scope told “Extending the energy price guarantee is a good short-term response to crushing energy bills. But we can all see that Susan’s story shines a light on why the Government needs to go further and move quicker.



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