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Government to help disabled people pay energy bills

a person reading an energy bill
a person reading an energy bill Image credit:

Research shows thousands of disabled people can’t afford their energy bills with the number expected to double this year.

According to Scope and National Energy Action around 900,000 people with disabilities are living in fuel poverty, the figure is estimated to rise to 2.1 million if domestic bills increase to £3,000 this October.

In today’s budget [Wednesday 23 March] chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged to support vulnerable people “where we can make a difference”.

A majority of disabled people have higher energy bills for medical reasons, such as charging essential equipment and using more heating.

"Disabled people are already facing some extremely difficult choices, and this is only going to get worse in the months ahead unless action is taken now," said Mark Hodgkinson, chief executive of Scope.

There will be a 54% rise in standard gas and electricity bills, to around £2,000, when a new higher price cap is introduced on 1 April.

The government will take “decisive action” to support people paying their bills by introducing a £150 council tax rebate for 80% of households in addition to a £200 discount on bills in October needing to be repaid.

Adam Scorer, National Energy Action’s chief executive, said: "As heat prices spiral, it is the most vulnerable who suffer the most. A warm, safe home is an absolute necessity for people with disabilities. The impact of a cold home on their mental and their physical health can be catastrophic.

"The current level of support is woefully inadequate. Government must provide greater financial support, or some of the most vulnerable in society will count the cost in more than just pounds and pence."

The invasion of Ukraine could see standard household bills rise to £3,000 in October when the cap will be adjusted again.