The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1 Horse Guards Road
I’m writing as a mother and carer of a disabled child, on behalf of thousands of families likes my own across the country, to express my concern following the Government’s Autumn Statement, and ask that you urgently consider introducing emergency support to help us cope with spiralling costs this winter.
Put simply, without additional financial support, many disabled people will be forced to take drastic measures to survive – like choosing between heating the home or putting food on the table.
You must recognise the unavoidable, additional costs that disabled households face every day. Many of us have no choice but to use more energy, which is currently so expensive. My own son, Charlie, has a genetic condition called SPG11, which means he needs a lot of assistance, like an electric wheelchair and hoist, and keeping him warm is vital as he can’t monitor his own body temperature. As a result, our energy bills are excessively high – and in the winter, the money put on the prepayment meter goes straight away.
The government’s decision to uprate benefits in line with inflation from April is important and has been welcomed by those of us who feared a real term cut next year, but disabled households are struggling right now, and there has been nothing announced to address that. Rumours of an energy tariff that would offer long-term support to the most vulnerable households came to nothing, and disabled people and their families have been left feeling neglected and fearing for the future.
Research, by the disability charity Sense, found that more than half of disabled people are now relying on loans to make ends meet and more than two thirds are skipping meals to save money.
Earlier in the year, I and more than 80,000 people joined Sense in calling for more support for disabled people to cope with the cost-of-living crisis. I urge you to listen to our call, and consider the following measures to support disabled people now and in the future:
- Introduce emergency financial support for disabled people over the winter months
- Review the benefits system to ensure it meets disabled people’s needs
- Introduce a reduced social energy tariff for the most vulnerable households
Will you meet with me and disability charity Sense to further discuss these calls and the impact on disabled people and their families?
It’s not fair that disabled people pay the heaviest price during this crisis.
Mother and carer of a disabled child. Campaign Champion for Sense.