People with disabilities are more likely to find it difficult to afford energy, mortgages or rent

People with disabilities are more likely to find it difficult to pay their energy bills, mortgage or rent and fall behind on payments, the data suggest.

More than half (55%) of people with disabilities are struggling to afford their energy bills, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This compares with 40% of non-disabled adults who paid their energy bills in the period from 22 June to 11 September.

And 36% of disabled people said they have difficulty paying their rent or mortgage, compared with 27% of non-disabled adults who pay these costs.

Overall, 45% of all adults who paid their energy bills and 30% of all adults who pay their rent or mortgage payments found it difficult to afford them.

The ONS analyzed responses from 13,305 people aged 16 and over in Britain to track the impact of rising cost of living as part of its opinion and lifestyle survey.

The findings also suggest that other groups hit hardest by the cost of living are renters, those who pay for energy by prepayment, and those of British, Asian or British blacks or blacks, and mixed or multiple ethnicity.

Disabled people were more likely to be left behind on key bills.

Overall, 3% of adults said they were behind on rent or mortgage payments and 5% said they were behind on energy bills.

This rose to 4% and 7% of disabled people respectively.

Richard Kramer, chief executive of the Sense charity, said disabled families have to make “painful choices” every day.

He said: “Many people with disabilities face higher energy bills due to the need to power essential equipment such as wheelchairs, hoists and feeding machines, or have to bear the costs of specialized therapies and diets.

“The latest ONS data is just further proof of how badly disabled people are facing this cost of living crisis.

“The government must recognize the scale of the crisis facing the disabled and commit to raising subsidies in line with inflation.”

Adults who were renting their own homes were more likely than those paying a mortgage to have difficulty paying for energy, rent, or mortgage payments.

About one in 10 renters (11%) said they were late with their energy bills and 5% said they were late with their rent payments.

This is compared to 3% and 1% of those with a mortgage, respectively.

And 60% of renters reported having difficulty paying their energy bills, compared to 43% of those with a mortgage, while 39% struggled to afford the rent, versus 23% of people who had difficulty paying the mortgage.

The ONS said the differences observed between renters and mortgage-paying people are likely due to the fact that some of the latter are fixed-rate, while renters “may be more exposed to the increases.”

Two-thirds (69%) of black or black British adults and 59% of Asian or Asian British adults reported having difficulty affording their energy bills, compared with 44% of white respondents.

More than half (52%) of black or black British adults said they had a hard time paying their rent or mortgage, compared with 28% of white respondents.

And a fifth (21%) of black or black British respondents said they are behind on energy bills, compared to 4% of white adults.

For mortgage and rent payments, 9% of respondents from black or black ethnic groups, mixed or multiple ethnic groups and 8% of Asian or Asian British adults said they were lagging behind.

This compares with 2% of white adults.

The ONS said ethnic group estimates are based on relatively small samples and therefore should be treated with caution.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of those who pay their energy bills with upfront payment reported difficulties in paying for energy, compared with 42% who pay by direct debit or one-off payments.

Adults in the North East and London were more likely to be late on energy bills (9% versus 2% -9% elsewhere) and rent or mortgage payments (5% versus 1% -5% somewhere else).

Londoners were more likely to say they had difficulty paying their rent or mortgage (37%).

The ONS said the capital has a younger demographic than the rest of Britain and a higher average house price.

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