Charity sector’s cost of living #SupportCantWait social media campaign

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Government is ignoring the higher living costs people with sight loss face. #SupportCantWait

Government is ignoring the higher living costs people with sight loss face. #SupportCantWait

On 19 January 2023, Visionary joined 34 charities from across the sight loss sector and wider disability sector in the #SupportCantWait campaign, calling on the Government to put blind and partially sighted people, people with disabilities, people with learning difficulties and people with mental illness at the heart of its response to the cost of living crisis.

To date, the Government’s support fails to recognise the higher living costs disabled and visually impaired people face. Imagine having to choose between staying warm, feeding your family, or powering essential equipment and lighting. Sadly, this is the reality for many disabled people and people with sight loss.

Disabled people came into the cost of living crisis at a financial disadvantage. The research in Scope’s Cost of Living report shows that even before this crisis, disabled people already faced extra costs of £583 a month on average. As disabled people use more electricity to charge special equipment such as technology, wheelchairs and ventilators which help to maintain their independence, they face higher electricity bills. They also have higher heating bills because of their condition which means they struggle to regulate body temperature. Now, with rising energy bills, three in five (61%) families caring for a disabled loved-one say that they can’t afford to keep their home adequately warm, according to research by Sense – Rising costs in the UK push more than half of disabled households into debt.

For many people with sight loss, turning the lights off can be dangerous as they need additional lighting to be able to see more clearly. RNIB’s report on Why the cost of living crisis has a bigger impact on people with sight loss (opens PDF) shockingly found that more than a third of people with sight loss have gone without essentials such as food and heating, or are struggling to make ends meet.

For all these reasons, the cost of living crisis is hitting disabled people and people with sight loss hard. Therefore, more targeted support is urgently needed now from Government for the millions of disabled and carer households who are struggling to heat their homes and pay their utility bills.

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