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Equalities and Rights Equalities and Rights

Reduce the extra costs that disability can incur

Last updated: 02:38pm 24 January 2019

We will work with providers of everyday essential services, like energy and telecoms, to reduce the extra costs that disability can incur.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.58

Our verdict

According to Scope, the disability equality charity, many disabled people face extra costs – disabled people can face, on average, extra costs of £570 a month related to their impairment or condition. This manifesto promise recognises the financial penalty experienced by some disabled people when it comes to essential services, such as energy and telecoms. This is one of several manifesto pledges aimed at closing the “disability gap”.

So what has been done? In March 2018, the government published a consultation on the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which provides a one-off discount on electricity bills over the winter. Responding to the consultation, the government announced plans for smaller suppliers to take part in the scheme from 2019/20, meaning more households will be covered.

In April 2018, benefits for additional costs incurred by disability, along with benefits for carers, were increased by 3% in line with prices. 

Just three months later, the Domestic Gas and Electricity Act came into effect, capping variable and default energy tariffs. Although the law is not specifically aimed at helping disabled people with their energy supplies, it can be seen as going some way towards protecting them from price rises.

However, neither the changes to the Warm Home Discount Scheme nor the Domestic Gas and Electricity Act are measures put in place specifically to help disabled people, so for now we’re calling this ‘in progress’. To move it to ‘done’ we’ll be looking for initiatives with the explicit objective of reducing extra costs incurred by disability. Follow this policy for updates.

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