A petition of more than 80,000 signatures was handed in by Anna Tesdale, 40, who has a son with a degenerative brain condition and Steven Morris, campaigns officer at disability charity Sense.
The petition follows the charity’s latest research, which reveals that since the start of the year the financial situation has worsened for more than three quarters (of disabled people, with half now in debt.
- Energy costs remain the biggest worry for disabled households, with over half (59%) of all disabled people saying they are struggling to afford to keep their home warm, and more than one in four (29%) cutting back on using essential specialist equipment, such as ventilators, nebulisers, and electric hoists.
- More than a third (35%) said they fear their energy supplier will try and move them to a prepayment meter, amid reports of forceable installations in the homes of vulnerable people.
- Nearly half said they were skipping meals to save money, and one in five regularly used food banks.
- Only a third said they were optimistic their financial situation would improve this year.
Sense is calling on the Government to postpone the planned increase to the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) – the state-subsidised energy rate. The charity also want to see the establishment of a social tariff for energy, to offer a discounted rate for disabled households who need to use more energy.
Steven Morris, the charity’s campaigns officer, said: “Everyone is affected by rising costs, but the research shows the severe impact the crisis is having on disabled people and their families across the country– with many at breaking-point.
“Disabled people are skipping meals, living in cold homes and switching off specialist equipment to save money. They need more support and our petition calls on the Government to act.”
Anna Tesdale, a Sense campaigner who handed in the petition with Steven, said: “The current system doesn’t work to support people and families like ours. Hopefully, by working together we find a solution to reduce the extortionate rising cost of living costs. Enough is enough.”
- This month, Sense are providing emergency financial support to families to ease the pressure on them – 1,000 families across the UK will receive a payment of £200. This follows the half a million pounds distributed by Sense last year.