'2 in 5 people with disabilities can't heat homes while a third save on food'

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Almost half of disabled adults say they have had to cut back on energy use this winter (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Almost half of disabled adults say they have had to cut back on energy use this winter (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Two in five people with disabilities are unable to heat their homes this winter and a third have been forced to cut back on food spending, fresh research has revealed.

A 44% disability income gap means those with a disability are more likely to have less money than the rest of the population.

The Resolution Foundation report used a YouGov survey of around 8,000 working-age adults, 2,000 of whom had a long-term illness or disability, to compare the experiences of disabled and non-disabled people in the cost of living crisis.

The study found people with a disability are almost three times as likely to live in material deprivation than the rest of the population (34% vs 13%).

Almost half (48%) of disabled adults say they have had to cut back on energy use this winter, compared to almost a third (32%) of people without a disability.

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'2 in 5 people with disabilities can't heat homes while a third save on food'Campaigners have called on the Government to 'act now' (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A third of adults in the lowest household income decile have a disability, compared to fewer than one in 10 (9%) of adults in the highest household income decile.

This underlying income gap excludes income from the extra-cost disability benefits, on the grounds that these are designed purely to offset additional costs associated with being disabled.

James Taylor, Director of Strategy at disability equality charity Scope, said the research “paints a bleak picture”.

He said: “Energy bills, food bills and care costs are all spiralling and causing havoc for disabled people, who were already more likely to be out of work and live in poverty.

“Government must act now to stop the hardest hit from falling further into financial difficulty this winter. They must bring forward the additional cost of living payments to this winter rather than summer and urgently implement a social energy tariff for disabled customers.”

Charlie McCurdy, Economist at the Resolution Foundation, echoed the call: “More policy work will be needed, not just through this crisis, but to make more progress on closing the huge income gaps that already existed between disabled people and the rest of the population.”

A Government spokesman said: "This Government is committed to protecting the most vulnerable and we recognise disabled people face additional costs. As part of a £37billion package of support, we supported six million people with a disability or health condition with an extra £150 payment last year while millions of low-income households received at least £1,200 of direct help, including £400 towards energy costs over 2022/23.

“In addition, disability benefits will be increased in line with inflation for 2023-24 and we are making £900 of new Cost of Living payments to those on means-tested benefits next year, with a further £150 Disability Cost of Living payment to those on disability benefits.”

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Sophie Huskisson

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation