Cost-of-Living and Disabled People: BBC Reporting Scotland (26 February 2024)

Disability Equality Scotland (DES) members may have seen the short news report yesterday evening on the early evening BBC 1 Reporting Scotland programme.

The news piece was based on recent research by Euan’s Guide, which mirrored some of the findings contained within our own research from late in 2023 and can be viewed at: Fact Sheet: Energy Price Cap and Cost of Living – Disability Equality Scotland

As the United Kingdom (UK) economy is currently experiencing a consistent cost-of-living crisis, we wanted to know how the rise in energy prices had affected disabled people. In particular, we wanted to find out about the additional costs disabled people face, including the associated costs of running independent living equipment (i.e. powerchairs, hoists, oxygen machines, home dialysis etc.).

What are the key things DES found out from our research?

  • 79% of our members disagreed with the proposed rise in the energy price cap due to take effect on 1st January 2024.
  • 55% of respondents said they were “very worried” about paying their energy bill once the new price cap takes effect. A further 33% said they were “quite worried” about being able to afford to pay their bill.
  • 97% of respondents said there should be a specific cost of living payment to help people charge/use their independent living equipment.
  • A small majority (51%) of our members said they had been ‘forced to make a choice’ between heating their home or using any independent living equipment they need. Members expressed a general concern that they should not need to make this choice.
  • 89% said they felt the disabled people’s cost of living payment was “not enough” money in the context of the cost-of-living crisis.

Our congratulations to Euan’s Guide for managing to raise this current area of significant concern for disabled people on national television.