Disabled Scots sacrificing meals to operate essential equipment, charity warns

More than 40,000 disabled households have sacrificed a cooked meal to run or charge essential medical equipment, analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) suggests.

The charity has argued that a “hidden crisis” has emerged for disabled Scots as they face a sharper impact from rising energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis.

Analysis of YouGov figures from October revealed an estimated two million people have a long-term health condition or live with someone who has one.

The poll surveyed 1,000 Scots, with 29% answering they must keep their home at a certain temperature, which Citizens Advice estimates equates to 600,700 people.

And 2% of respondents said they had to sacrifice cooked meals to charge or run medical equipment, which the charity estimates impacts 41,428 households in Scotland.

The charity has raised awareness of the issue after supporting a woman who sought help because of a £1,600 energy debt associated with running her disabled daughter’s medical devices.

Stephanie Millar, the charity’s justice spokeswoman, said: “We know the cost-of-living crisis has meant people have faced impossible choices when it comes to their spending and energy use, but the potential scale here is absolutely horrifying.

“This crisis has impacted disabled people on a far greater scale than others might recognise. Anyone who is worried about bills and money this winter should seek advice from the CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) network.

“That doesn’t have to mean going to a CAB, our online advice pages are used by millions of people a year and we have interactive self-help tools to help people see where they can boost their incomes or cut their costs.

“The CAB network gets incredible results for these people.

“Last year the average gain for someone who saw one after seeking advice was just over £3,700. That can be absolutely life-changing money this winter.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2024, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA.