Disabled people’s extra burden of energy

Published: November 2023

This briefing note is the first output of a programme of work with Scope, which looks at the extra costs that disabled people face in their day-to-day lives. It shows that disabled people have to allocate a higher proportion of their overall spending to paying for energy and that this impacts heavily on their living standards. Overall, compared to otherwise equivalent households that do not include a disabled person, households that include one or more disabled people face an extra burden of energy that is worth £317 per year.

Our analysis shows that action to tackle this extra burden of energy would support an increase in living standards for many disabled people. For example, support of £5 per week (equivalent of £260 per year) for disabled people living in the least well off 40% of households, would reduce poverty amongst disabled people by 70,000 and reduce deep poverty amongst disabled people by 85,000.

There are a range of measures that the Government and energy sector could take to reduce the impact of the extra burden of energy on disabled people. Our next report will outline a package of potential measures to tackle this and the broader extra burden of essentials faced by disabled people. Key to this will be:

The introduction of a social tariff for energy for disabled people, like the one already proposed by Scope and other organisations.
Linking this to a new scheme providing finance and support to fast-track retrofitting of disabled people’s homes and take up of smart technology to improve their energy performance rating in order to reduce energy bills.

Read the full briefing note.