Mum Samantha talks to BBC ahead of Spring Budget

3 mins read

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Parent carer Samantha with son Lewis
Parent carer Samantha with son Lewis

Parent carer Samantha, who has written to the Chancellor asking for more help for disabled households, has made a powerful film for BBC News to share her demands.

The BBC spent the day with Samantha and her son Lewis, who has a terminal condition similar to Batten Disease, to find out more about their money worries.

Samantha’s three simple asks

Watch Samantha and Lewis’ BBC News film

More than 3,000 families with disabled children have signed up to support Samantha’s three asks, which she explains in her letter [PDF]. More than 100 disability charities from the Disabled Children’s Partnership, which Contact CEO Anna Bird leads, also support the campaign.

Samantha is calling for:

  • An energy social tariff for families like hers reliant on life-saving electrical equipment.
  • Better support under Universal Credit for disabled young person like Lewis.
  • Cost of living payments for disabled households to help cover their extra costs.

Samantha writes:

“I was absolutely devastated to hear that plans for a social tariff had been shelved. I am literally terrified and too afraid to think about how we are going to cope financially when our financial support drops at the end of this
month when we are due to move over to Universal Credit…

“I am urging you to take steps to ensure families with disabled children and young people are not financially disadvantaged during this cost of living crisis. We did not choose to live this way. We are doing the absolute best we can for our children.”

Constant battle to keep afloat

Contact CEO Anna Bird on BBC Breakfast
Contact Chief Executive Anna Bird on BBC Breakfast

Speaking to BBC Breakfast Anna Bird, Chief Executive of Contact, said:

“Families with disabled children face a constant battle to keep financially afloat, because everything costs more when you have a disability.

“There are almost 100,000 critically ill children in the UK. Many need life-saving equipment like ventilators, food pumps and hoists. Their time is precious with their child, and they shouldn’t be spending that time worrying about household bills. Not only are they struggling with higher than average costs in a cost-of-living crisis, some also face a drop in their income. Young disabled people like Lewis have to claim Universal Credit due to their age, and they lose money. It’s a hugely complicated process too.

“That’s why Samantha’s letter to the Chancellor has struck a chord with almost 3,000 families and 100 disability charities who have signed up in support of it.

An opportunity to make a huge difference

Thank you to all of you who signed up to support Samantha. With thousands of people behind her, Samantha is right to tell the Chancellor that her situation is far from unique.

Tomorrow, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has the opportunity to make a huge difference to families with disabled children across the UK. We hope he takes it.