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The Guardian view on disability and living costs: ministers must close the gap | Editorial

Rising prices affect disabled people in specific and harsh ways. Widening inequality demands a targeted response

Rising living costs are making daily life more difficult for households across the UK, particularly during the winter when energy needs are highest. But new research showing the alarming extent to which disabled people are being affected should prompt a swift and targeted response. In one case, a severely disabled child in Wales lost his overnight nursing care package because his parents were unable to afford to heat their home to the level required by nurses. Rising energy costs are, for obvious reasons, disproportionately harmful to all those who for health reasons need more energy for heating or to power medical equipment. In this case, a hospice offered a placement, but ministers cannot expect charities to fill the gaps created when public provision breaks down. Many are already overwhelmed.

Using a recent survey of 8,000 people, combined with data from before the recent spike in inflation, the Resolution Foundation found that the gap between the median incomes of disabled and non-disabled UK households is 44%. This calculation excludes disability benefits, which makes sense if seeking a like-for-like comparison, as these benefits are intended to compensate for higher living costs due to having a disability.

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