‘Eating or breathing’: energy costs force stark choices on disabled people

Stigmatis News

People with severe disabilities and chronic conditions struggling in cost of living crisis, research shows

Poet and scriptwriter Karis Williamson is on full-time ventilation and uses a powerchair. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Soaring energy bills are forcing people with severe disabilities and chronic health conditions to choose in extreme cases between “eating or breathing” as they struggle to navigate the cost of living crisis, research shows.

According to a survey by the charity Euan’s Guide, people are either opting to reduce their use of vital, energy-intensive electrical medical aids and equipment – putting their health in jeopardy – or where this is impossible, cutting back drastically on food, heating and travel.

Respondents to the survey, many of whom have multiple and complex health conditions, variously report routinely skipping meals, cancelling trips to hospital appointments, switching the heating off and going for days without washing or showering, just so they can…

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