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Cost Of Living: Disabled People Need Heating Costs Help, MS Society Says

September 7, 2022

An “urgent increase” in financial support is needed to help people with disabilities to get through the winter, according to a charity.

The MS Society said disabled people faced extra living costs, with some already being forced to choose between essentials like fuel and medication.

“I feel really anxious,” said Alexandra Osborne, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2019.

The UK government said it was “phasing in” £37bn in support this year.

And last month the Welsh government announced more households would receive help with fuel bills.

Ms Osborne, from Caerphilly, said her condition meant she felt the cold, so she was already keeping a close eye on her energy bills ahead of winter.

“It is already becoming quite hard to afford the heating bills that keep going up and the idea that this is going to go up by 80% in October is really scary,” she said.

“I don’t feel like I have the choice to turn off my heating because I can’t regulate my body temperature so I don’t feel I have the choice to use less energy.

“If I become really cold I become really stiff, and I get tired quicker.

“Everything is an extra effort if I am cold and it is a real big worry how I am going to afford all this.”

‘Between a rock and a hard place’

And she said she was not alone.

“I was speaking to one lady who is already going in to debt.

“If her bills go up by 80% will she get into worse debt which will result in her energy being turned off which will have a massive impact on her health,” she said.

“People are just stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment.”

Ms Osborne said she was preparing for the cold weather by stocking up on blankets.

“The UK government really need to to do something to help,” she said.

The MS Society said a quarter of people living with MS would not be able to heat their home this winter, prompting its call for the next prime minister to introduce a new “cost of living package”.

The two contenders, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, will find out which of them has won the ballot of Tory members on Monday.

The charity said: “People living with MS are telling us they are already skipping meals, falling into crushing debt and are being forced to make devastating choices between essentials like fuel and medication.”

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