This appendix for The Many Costs of Living is available to read, listen to, or watch translated into BSL below. 

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The Many Costs of Living are significantly greater for disabled people. Amid several ongoing crises, here are a few illustrations:

British Gas

In the winter of 2022-23, British Gas owner Centrica acknowledged that the contractor responsible for their debt collection, Arvato Financial Solutions, had been breaking into the homes of vulnerable people to forcibly install prepayment meters. British Gas reported that in 2022, of their customers, approximately 1.5 million were on prepayment meters, 20,000 of which had been installed off the back of a court ordered warrant. In January 2023, following a campaign to raise awareness of the precarity and hardship inflicted upon homes with prepayment meters, Citizens Advice published data showing that one household’s meter is disconnected as a result of missed payments every ten seconds. Polling confirms that of those disconnected every week, 130,000 households included a disabled person, in breach of energy supplier regulations. Furthermore, their research found that the number of people unable to afford their prepayment meter in 2022 was greater than the ten previous years combined. On February 16th 2023, Centrica announced record-breaking profits of £3.3bn - more than triple those it made in 2021.


Building on a decade of expanding waiting lists, strained resources, and declining workforce, the ongoing NHS crisis correlates with continued significant cuts to the overall budget of the healthcare system since 2010 and has been exacerbated by the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic. In 2021, it was reported that people self-funding medical treatment made up one third of patients for the very first time. In February 2020, prior to the pandemic, there were already 4.43 million people on the waiting list to receive NHS care. As of December 2022, this figure now stands at 7.2 million, according to regularly updated reporting from the British Medical Association. Of those waiting, 406,035 have been waiting longer than a year for treatment - 239 times greater than the same measurement in 2019. In January 2023, former Health Secretary Sajid Javid outlined a backbench proposal suggesting patients should financially contribute to the cost of appointments to ensure sustainability of the healthcare system.

Experiencing crisis

In December 2022, three people in crisis were helped every minute by Citizens Advice - help which includes food bank referrals and emergency charitable grants. More than half of the 200,000 people they helped through crisis in 2022 were disabled or had a long-term health condition. At the same time, the charity published new analysis revealing that over a third of all UK adults would fall into crisis were their monthly outgoings to increase by just £20.

Banner image: Downing Street protest photographed by Alisdare Hickson. Description: Photograph of a young black woman at a protest holding a sign reading freeze prices not the poor