Responding to growing concerns about the impact of fuel price rises for older people, disabled people and carers, Cathie Williams, ADASS chief executive, and the co-chairs of the Care and Support Alliance have issued the following joint statement:
Despite recent announcements about the ending of most Covid restrictions, for many older people, disabled people and their family carers the fear of Covid remains and people will continue to isolate at home, especially amongst those who are clinically vulnerable. The impact upon people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing of spending excessively long periods in isolation has been well documented, but the financial impact has been less well understood.
Many people with care and support needs have already experienced an increase in household energy costs as a result of extended periods of time spent at home. For some, price increases will have been significantly higher as a result of their energy supplier going bust and being moved to a provider of last resort on higher tariffs. We also know that it is harder for some people to navigate the complicated energy market and to shop around for cheaper deals. Yet the price increases experienced so far are relatively low compared to the price hikes everyone will face from April 1st.
We know that a lot of older and disabled people and their family carers are amongst those in society with the lowest household income and as a result, their energy costs are a significantly higher proportion of the income. These huge prices rises will leave many people, potentially already in poorer health, with the terrible decision of choosing between heating and eating. We are therefore calling for the Government to provide additional financial support to people who need care and support, and their family carers to enable them to heat their homes without having to worry about further reductions to their quality of life.