Join our call for more government support for people with sight loss in the cost of living crisis
Rapid rises in the cost of living have a disproportionate impact on blind and partially sighted people. Please join our call for more government support in the current crisis.
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Even before current price rises, one in five blind and partially sighted people said they had some, or great, difficulty in making ends meet. The cost of living crisis has made this situation worse.
RNIB’s recent cost of living survey asked more than 100 blind and partially sighted people how the crisis was affecting them.
- More than two thirds said their financial situation had got worse over the last six months.
- More than a third “often” go without essentials such as food and heating, or have struggled to make ends meet.
- Despite some people needing more light, including to safely move around their home, more than two thirds reported using less energy to try and save money. This compares to a third of the general population.
One respondent said:
“I am missing a meal today. I have a small bowl of cereal, then miss lunch and have something cheap in the evening like beans on toast. This is the only way I’m currently surviving. If costs increase and benefits don’t, I will not be able to eat or put the heating on during cold evenings. I am also taking less showers now which makes me feel dirty and uncomfortable.”
Why the crisis has a greater impact on blind and partially sighted people
Blind and partially sighted people already face additional, unavoidable costs including taxi charges and costs associated with extra lighting, assistive technology and support in the home. Even five years ago, these extra costs averaged between £50 and £135 a week.
Two other respondents to the survey told us:
“It’s difficult for me to use the bus to get to the supermarket so I have to rely on taxis and their prices are being increased due to fuel.”
“Blind people need extra lighting; with energy costs people are turning off lights which can lead to falls and broken bones. VAT on energy should be reduced for our community - and others - that need lights to stay safe in our homes.”
It is also harder for people with sight loss to find the best money-saving deals or, even, access the cheapest options.
“I cannot shop around for cheaper products or energy. I am totally blind and I am unable to do things on my own to try to save money.”
People with sight loss are also more reliant on benefits than the general population; only one in four registered blind and partially sighted people of working age in employment. In April the Government increased benefits by just 3.1 per cent – despite bills and prices rising far faster and inflation predicted to reach 11 per cent later in the year.
Join RNIB’s campaign for more support
While the Government’s Cost of Living Payments are welcome, if unsupported, this one-off help is not enough to help many blind and partially sighted people through the crisis.
We need your help to send a powerful message to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey:
Add your voice
Complete the online petition to the government asking them for the following:
- It’s vital that blind and partially sighted people relying on benefits can cope with the rising cost of living. The Government should urgently increase benefits in line with inflation.
- Rising energy costs are having a disproportionate impact on blind and partially sighted people. The Government should reverse its changes to the Warm Homes Discount Scheme, so everyone on disability benefits can get help with their energy bills.
There is also an opportunity to share how the cost of living crisis is impacting you. This can really help us in explaining to decision-makers why blind and partially sighted people are particularly hard hit by rising costs.
Our cost of living factsheet can help guide you through the benefits, concessions and grants you could be entitled to. We also have handy tips on how to manage your finances independently when you have sight loss.
RNIB also offers free practical and emotional support to help people with sight loss deal with increasing financial pressures. Call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999, say “Alexa, call RNIB Helpline” to an Alexa-enabled device, visit rnib.org.uk/advice or email email@example.com