Sky-high energy costs leave disabled people in the cold

Notes to the editor:

For more information contact Warren Kirwan in the Scope press office on 020 7169 7702 or email

1. Research carried out by Opinium Research between 20 and 28 December 2016 with 501 disabled UK adults. The sample has been weighted to reflect a representative audience. The research also sheds light on how these energy costs impact on other areas of life.

  • One in eight (13%) have skipped a meal.
  • While nearly one in ten (8%) have delayed or missed bill payments.

There are currently 6.9 million working age disabled people in the UK (Family Resources Survey 2014/15). If this estimate was to hold for all working age disabled people that would equal 2 million people in the UK.

Energy cost estimates are based on Living Food and Cost Survey 2014, which is the government’s survey on household spending. It is based on over 5,000 households in the UK. We have defined a disabled households as one with at least one disabled person.
Priority Services Registers (PSR) – the research found that three quarters (74%) of disabled people hadn’t heard of the PSR.

Additional information 
There are at least 889,000 fuel poor households in England with a disabled person, which constitutes over 37 per cent of all fuel poor households – that’s a significant and identifiable section of the energy.

In qualitative analysis by the Extra Costs Commission, disabled people and families with disabled children rated energy as a moderate to high cost.

In research carried out by the charity Contact a Family, 36 per cent of families with disabled children have needed a loan to pay for heating.

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