Wirral West MP highlights impact of increased cost of living on vulnerable people

Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the government to ensure that vulnerable people, including disabled people, are made aware of the financial support that is available to them to help with the cost of living crisis. 

Taking part in a parliamentary debate, the MP for Wirral West echoed concerns that have been raised by the charity Scope that the government’s Household Support Fund, which is designed to help vulnerable people across England and is administered by local authorities, has not helped many disabled people and that many are not aware that it exists. 

She also went on to draw attention to a campaign by charities representing disabled people which aims to get the government to introduce a social tariff on energy which would give discounted bills to disabled people, older people and carers who typically face high energy costs. 

This is an issue that Margaret Greenwood has pressed ministers on before. In January of this year, she was told by the government that they had “committed to work with consumer groups and industry to consider the best approach, including options such as social tariffs”. 

The Wirral West MP called for an update from the government on this, and she urged them to have discussions specifically with disabled people and the charities that represent them. 

Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said, “I was pleased to be able to take part in this important debate to highlight the impact that the cost of living crisis is having on disabled people. 

“This is an issue which constituents have raised with me directly. It is a matter of extreme concern that charities such as Scope are reporting that many disabled people are unaware of support schemes that are available to them. 

“This represents a failure on the government’s part, and they need to do more to make sure that people receive the support that they are entitled to.  

“The government should also ensure that there are advice centres in community settings where people can receive guidance about the support available. 

“High energy costs can cause great difficulties for many disabled people.  

“I called on the minister to have direct discussions with disabled people and groups that represent them on the issue of bringing in an energy social tariff for disabled customers. 

“There must also be improvements to the social security system so that it treats disabled people with dignity and respect; too often that is lacking. 

“The latest statistics show that 69% of Personal Independent Payment (PIP) decisions appealed by a claimant were overturned in favour of the claimant. 

“The PIP assessment process clearly needs to be improved to ensure that people who are disabled or have a serious health condition do not have to fight continually through reassessments and tribunals to get the support that they so desperately need and deserve. 

“Overall, the government must do more to support disabled people.” 

You can find information on the Household Support Fund via this link: https://www.gov.uk/cost-living-help-local-council  

There is further information about various other support schemes for disabled people here: https://www.gov.uk/financial-help-disabled  

Information about various other cost of living support schemes can be found here: https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/

Image: Josh Appel

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