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Charity says disabled people need help with heating costs

Alexandra Osbourne
Alexandra Osbourne Image credit:

A charity is urging the government to support disabled people with the cost of living this winter.

A warning from the MS Society says households with vulnerable residents are being forced to make tough decisions between paying for essential items, such as food, and medication.

Alexandra Osbourne (pictured above), who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2019, told BBC News she is feeling “really anxious” about the rising costs of living crisis.

Ms Osbourne, from Caerphilly, feels the cold more than most during winter months because of her condition.

"It is already becoming quite hard to afford the heating bills that keep going up and the idea that this is going to go up by 80% in October is really scary," she said.

"I don't feel like I have the choice to turn off my heating because I can't regulate my body temperature so I don't feel I have the choice to use less energy.

"If I become really cold I become really stiff, and I get tired quicker.

"Everything is an extra effort if I am cold and it is a real big worry how I am going to afford all this."

Osbourne went on to share a similar story she heard.

"I was speaking to one lady who is already going into debt.

"If her bills go up by 80% will she get into worse debt which will result in her energy being turned off which will have a massive impact on her health," she said.

"People are just stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment."

According to the MS Society a quarter of people living with multiple sclerosis will not be able to afford heating this winter.

The charity said: "People living with MS are telling us they are already skipping meals, falling into crushing debt and are being forced to make devastating choices between essentials like fuel and medication."

The ‘cost of living crisis’ refers to the fall in ‘real’ disposable incomes that the UK has experienced since late 2021.