Advertisement
News

Disabled people are ‘being hit harder by the cost of living crisis’

Charity Scope says more than two million disabled people are expected to be in fuel poverty before the end of the year.

The cost of living crisis is hitting disabled people the hardest with almost three million facing an average support shortfall of £367 a year, a new report has found.

The disability equality charity Scope has warned of a total shortfall in financial support of £1billion, due to the failure to increase benefits in line with inflation.

According to the charity and National Energy Action the number of disabled people thought to be in fuel poverty in March 2022 was 900,000 – and it is expected to increase to 2.1 million by the end of the year.

As the energy price cap hike hits, the charity is calling for urgent financial support to prevent more disabled people being plunged into poverty.

Based on inflation rates from last September, benefits have been uprated by 3.1 per cent. However, as the Bank of England is forecasting average inflation of 9.5 per cent over the upcoming year, Scope is warning that the gap will be the equivalent to a shortfall in support of up to £505 for those who face the highest living costs. 

According to the Office for National Statistics, 10 per cent of disabled people are now borrowing money from friends and family to make ends meet.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Additionally, the government has made the decision to remove the right for people on Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (AA) to claim the Warm Homes Discount.

This government-backed scheme gives cash to energy providers, which is then passed on as a discount to household bills from October to March.

Under the new rules, it will only be available to those on means tested benefits, but is being increased from £140 to £150.

This change will excluded more than 200,000 disabled people, who currently rely on the discount for vital support, following a consultation from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

James Taylor, executive director at disability equality charity Scope, said the failure to increase benefits showed a “distinct lack of awareness from government that life costs a lot more when you’re disabled”. 

He added: “Disabled people have no choice but to use more energy to charge vital equipment and keep warm. Many rely on their own vehicles to get around. Disabled people have already been cutting back for months and there’s nothing left to cut back.

“The government has said it will uprate disability benefits again next April in line with this year’s inflation, but what are disabled people supposed to do for the next 12 months if they can’t afford basic essentials like food and heating? 

“We are facing the worst cost of living crisis in decades and need action now, not in a year’s time. The government must announce direct financial support for disabled people, and at a minimum, make sure PIP matches rises in living costs.”

A government spokesperson said the Warm Homes Discount is just “one measure” to help tackle rising energy costs.

They added: “Our energy price cap continues to insulate households from volatile gas markets, and we are also providing a £200 reduction on bills this autumn and a £150 non-repayable reduction in council tax bills.”

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
12 Black Britons everyone should know about
Social Justice

12 Black Britons everyone should know about

'People will starve and freeze' if government U-turns on promise to increase benefits
Cost of living crisis

'People will starve and freeze' if government U-turns on promise to increase benefits

Everything you needed to know about volunteering to get stuck in
Volunteering

Everything you needed to know about volunteering to get stuck in

Landlords set to pass on mortgage rate hikes to tenants
Renting

Landlords set to pass on mortgage rate hikes to tenants

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.