Chancellor fails to recognise huge extra costs of disabled households in Spring Statement

3 mins read

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Tags: disability, carer, energy costs

Today chancellor Rishi Sunak set out the government’s plans to help families with the cost of living crisis in his Spring Statement. But there was very little help announced for carers and families with disabled children facing soaring bills.

Amanda Batten, Chief Executive at Contact, said: “Families with disabled children will be hugely disappointed with today’s Spring Statement. There was nothing to recognise the massive extra costs that disabled households face with their energy and other household bills.

“We know from our latest Out of Energy campaign research that families with disabled children are already paying £600 more for energy than other households. That’s before the unprecedented energy price rises coming next week. Families with disabled children are reliant on life-saving electrical equipment. It would be dangerous for them to cut back on their usage. They are anxious as to how they are going to cope with soaring bills.

“And there was nothing to alleviate those concerns today. At the very least we wanted to see the £200 energy rebate announced in February converted to a non-repayable grant for disabled households.”

The only support measure aimed at vulnerable families was an extension to the £500m Household Support Fund, which was launched in October 2021 to help households with essentials such as food, clothing and utilities. However, it is unclear how the scheme will operate in each local authority and we are concerned that some families may miss out due to varying eligibility criteria or application processes.

Amanda added: “Where is the help for families who are unable to get paid employment due to caring responsibilities? They contribute enormously to the economy by shoring up our NHS and social care sector, but there was nothing for them. The only reference to vulnerable households is in giving more to the Household Support Fund. But we know that discretionary grants are not a good targeted measure for cash-strapped families with disabled children, who are time-pressured.”

Join our #OutOfEnergy campaign

We know that families with disabled children already pay £600 extra on energy costs compared to all households. A third of respondents to our Counting the Costs survey said they have gone without heating in the last 12 months — and as energy prices rise, we have huge concerns about how families are going to cope.

Contact’s new Out of Energy campaign is calling on government and energy companies to help families with disabled children with their higher energy costs. Find out more about what we’re asking for and help us take action via our campaign page.

Advice from Contact

Our advisers have put together a list of schemes, grants and tips to help families access financial support and reduce their energy use.

Help with utility bills 

There is help available so make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to. 

Energy saving tips 

It is worth checking to see if you can decrease the amount of energy you use

Financial help 

If you are struggling with finances and debt, try our online benefits calculator, use our online grants search or read our list of 6 things parent carers can do now to ease the cost of living crisis.