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Cost of living

Devastating impact of cost-of-living crisis on disabled people revealed

8 Aug 2023

Today, we published a new report with Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) on the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis on the lives, health, and wellbeing of disabled people. The report presents a stark and deeply concerning picture of the devastating impact this is having.

Since 2021 the extraordinary surge in prices for basic commodities such as food, clothing, and energy has created a ‘cost-of-living crisis’. The damaging impact of this has received much attention but there has been limited attention to the specific impacts on disabled people. This new report presents the direct experiences of disabled people living in Glasgow and a scoping review of emergent evidence from across the UK.

The evidence presented demonstrates that many disabled people simply cannot afford to live a healthy or fulfilling life, adversely impacting both mental and physical health and severely compromising condition management. Such deepening levels of poverty are difficult to escape – even on a temporary basis.

As one disabled study participant described:

In this cost-of living crisis, I feel the guillotine above my head all the time, I feel it so vividly. Things [finances] were always tight before, and even through COVID, but this is different. I can't get by, everything is so much more expensive, so much more. I have no room to move. It feels like you are condemned to a joyless life being disabled in this crisis. 

Immediate and disability-prioritised policy and practice responses at all levels of government and across public services are urgently report. This should include mitigating the immediate impacts of the crisis alongside addressing the historical vulnerability and inequalities experienced by disabled people.

Commenting on the findings, Chris Harkins, Public Health Programme Manager at GCPH and lead author of the report stated: 

For disabled people living in Glasgow to have unheated homes, to go hungry, and to have severely restricted opportunities to socialise and participate in their community paints a bleak picture of our society in 2023. More so, living like this is a direct violation of their human rights. These conditions are a direct result of policy choices, primarily a decade of austerity policy which we know has been devastating to the health of disabled people and lower income households. In terms of local and national government, disabled people must be considered a priority. As this report makes painfully clear, urgent action is essential.

Access the full quote and media release here.

Access the report here.

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