Cost of living: it all adds up

Blog by Gary Bourlet, Membership and Engagement Lead and self advocate

I have been thinking a lot about how the cost of living is going up.

And that people’s wages, benefits or pensions have not increased enough to keep up.

Prices in shops and bills are going up very quickly.

There have been changes to taxes.

For example VAT has gone back up on some things like hospitality that were reduced during the pandemic.

And some people are now paying more National Insurance.

Many people are facing much bigger gas and electric bills because some gas and electric companies have put their prices up.

Other people may have to pay more when their tariff comes to an end.  

And the cost of petrol and diesel has gone up a lot over the past few months.

It all adds up if you want to travel, keep warm, feed yourself and your family.

One thing seems to lead to another like a domino effect.

My local fish and chip shop has increased their prices by over £1.

This is because of fishing, the cost of gas and fuel and the cost of sunflower oil which they said is in short supply.

Many of us haven’t been able to see much of family and friends over the last 2 years because of Covid.

Now I’m worried I still won’t be able to see people as much as I would like because I can’t afford to.

I have talked to other members and friends and lots of us are feeling worried.

So I have been thinking about what I can do.

Here are some ideas and resources from members and partners that have helped me.

I hope they help you too:

I have had a smart meter put in.

That has made me worry too as I can see the £ signs going up in front of my eyes.

But it has made me think about how I can use the smart meter to help me use less gas and electricity.

Speak Up have shared some useful resources about smart meters.

Citizen’s Advice have put together tips on how to reduce gas and electric bills and how to find out if there are grants you can apply for to help you.

I have been thinking about how I buy my food.

Some supermarkets like Iceland let me order online and deliver for free if I spend over a certain amount.

This saves me money on transport.

I also buy some things from local shops like the greengrocer.

I like to support local businesses and I can buy the exact amount I need so I waste less.

Travel is a big cost for lots of us.

For example as well as the cost of petrol, it now costs more to charge your electric scooter and wheelchair.

I have made sure I have renewed my bus pass and my disabled railcard.

I got some ideas from the Dimensions easy read guide on how to save money.

You might find some good ideas there too.

The higher cost of living is not likely to go away quickly.

And benefits and wages are not going up at the same speed.

As well as the things we can all do to try and save money, some people are campaigning and asking the government to do more to help.

Last week Disability Rights UK and Inclusion London joined together to launch the Disability Poverty Campaign Group (DPCG).

The Group is campaigning for 3 things:

  • An increase in all benefits in line with inflation.
  • Targeted support for disabled people’s energy costs
  • Fairer charging for social care

The  ‘Being Warm Being Happy’ partnership research project explores if adults with learning disabilities are keeping warm at home and their levels of fuel poverty.

The ‘Warm Well Families: Rotherham’ research has some useful information about fuel poverty and staying warm and well.

It is not in easy read.

If you know of any easy read resources about how to save money that we can share with members, please let us know by emailing