New research conducted by Citizens Advice Scotland has revealed a troubling situation for more than 40,000 persons with disabilities in Scotland. The study, which analyzed data from YouGov, found that individuals with disabilities or long-term health conditions had been compelled to sacrifice a cooked meal to power or charge essential medical equipment.
According to the research, a concerning 2% of the 1,000 adults (18+) surveyed had faced the difficult choice of skipping a meal to ensure the operation of vital medical devices. The broader poll exposed that 30% of respondents either lived with or knew someone with a disability or long-term health condition lasting at least 12 months.
Considering Scotland’s adult population of 4,603,116, this heartbreaking revelation translates to over 40,000 disabled individuals missing out on hot meals due to the financial strain induced by inflation and soaring energy bills.
Citizens Advice Scotland emphasized that these figures underscore a “hidden crisis” among the disabled population, as they grapple with heightened challenges amidst economic hardships.
CAS Social Justice spokesperson Stephanie Millar said: “We know the cost-of-living crisis has meant people have faced impossible choices when it comes to their spending and energy use, but the potential scale here is absolutely horrifying.
“This crisis has impacted disabled people in a far greater scale than others might recognise. Anyone who is worried about bills and money this winter should seek advice from the CAB network.
“That doesn’t have to mean going to a CAB, our online advice pages are used by millions of people a year and we have interactive self-help tools to help people see where they could boost their incomes or cut their costs.
“The CAB network gets incredible results for people. Last year the average gain for someone who saw one after seeking advice was over £3,700. That can be absolutely life changing money this winter. We don’t judge, we just help.”