A Harrogate charity boss has said soaring energy costs – which will add hundreds and possibly thousands of pounds to household bills – will hit disabled people the hardest.

Jackie Snape, Chief Executive of Disability Action Yorkshire, added eye-watering increases in gas and electricity prices are ‘forcing disabled people to make impossible choices’.

Mrs Snape said there are currently around 900,000 disabled people in fuel poverty, but this number could rise to well over two million as it costs more to be disabled.

And more than 200,000 households with a disabled person are set to lose out on the £150 Warm House discount due to a change in the entitlement criteria.

Mrs Snape said:

“Whilst the rise in energy bills is a worry to everyone, it is being felt particularly hard by disabled people. The rises are forcing disabled people to make impossible choices!

“For disabled people it’s not a choice between heating and eating – it’s heating, eating and the use of essential equipment.

“Many disabled people already forced to commit a large amount of income to energy costs as they often rely on energy-intensive equipment such as powered wheelchairs, hoists and electric beds.”

Mrs Snape added:

“It costs more to be disabled; disabled people’s money does not go as far as those who are non-disabled. On average £100 of a non-disabled person’s money is equivalent to £68 for a disabled person.

“Disabled people are often at home more than non-disabled people, so they need to spend more on heat. And because many disabled people can’t move around as much as non-disabled people, they get colder quicker.”

“A cold home can have an effect on physical as well as mental health, so this will be a double whammy for disabled people.”

Further information about Disability Action Yorkshire, is available from its website, www.disabilityactionyorkshire.org.uk

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