The new 5% higher price cap on energy bills announced on Thursday 23 November means people will pay more this January than any winter before and this is set to hit those with disabilities the hardest. That’s the verdict of one charity representing chronically ill and disabled people – the Spinal Injuries Association.
Energy bills: going up again
From January, an average energy bill will be going up by £94 a year:
However, this rise isn’t set across the board. Former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett noted that:
And as charity Scope tweeted, chronically ill and disabled people are hit the hardest by energy price rises:
So, the Spinal Injuries Association who represent those with spinal cord injury are calling on the government to offer more help to the most vulnerable with their energy bills.
‘Concerned for people’s safety’
Last winter every home received a £66-a-month government reduction. However with no additional support this winter and benefits falling short the charity claims many with spinal cord injury will suffer unnecessary physical pain and anxiety with some having to turn to debt and food banks.
A spokesperson for the Spinal Injuries Association said:
We are concerned for the safety of many who due to spinal cord injury are unable to regulate their own body temperature in the same way.
As heating bills soared last winter, many of these people reported pain levels increasing due to being unable to keep warm at home with some resorting to wearing ski clothes indoors or wrapping themselves in blankets and duvets and staying in bed all day, rather than turning on the heating.
The cold adversely effects pain levels and the ability to walk for many with spinal cord injury, with some struggling to actually move around their own home. For them simply turning the heating down or switching off essential equipment is not a safe option. Worrying about how to make ends meet is not healthy for anyone and neither is staying in bed for most of the week so you can turn off the heating, with many telling us they feel angry, upset and isolated.
The charity explained that one person reported spending £430 a month on gas and electricity last winter in order to survive which was not sustainable and that they were petrified and scared to death by todays announcement. Many chronically ill and disabled people have no way of increasing their income and are worried about how to absorb these additional costs next year.
The Spinal Injuries Association is supporting other charities including Scope who are calling for a social tariff on energy offering a discounted bill for those who face higher energy costs. This would ensure that those in the greatest need such as the 50,000 people across the UK with spinal cord injury can live safely and comfortably in their own home this winter.
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