Disabled man unable to charge wheelchair as cost of living soars

Jake Berry defends delay to benefits announcement

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Peter Wilson, a disabled man, is unable to charge his wheelchair as a result of the escalating cost of living crisis. He said he is “frightened” by the prospect of a real-terms cut to benefits. The 54-year-old, from Hull in East Yorkshire, is unable to work due to his disability.

Mr Wilson receives benefits including Universal Credit and personal independence payments (PIP).

He has had mobility issues for more than a decade after he slipped on a patch of ice 11 years ago and permanently damaged his spine.

His condition has deteriorated over time and he now uses an electric wheelchair, has a stoma bag, and suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.

Mr Wilson currently relies on a Micrel Rythmic pump to pump fluids around his body overnight but charging it daily, along with his wheelchair, is becoming too expensive.

Speaking to PA, he said: “I’ve got to think about all the medical equipment that’s got to be charged during the day because almost everything I need runs on electricity.

“The batteries and battery pack have got to be recharged in the daytime so that it is ready for when the nurses come at night.

“I have to try and make savings elsewhere so I now spend more time indoors because I’m so scared about the cost of charging my chair.”

He criticised UK Prime Minister Liz Truss for not giving a clear answer on whether or not more help will be provided for people on benefits, describing it as “very worrying”.

He accused the Government of wanting to keep benefits as “low as humanly possible.”

Earlier this week, the government’s £150bn energy price guarantee came into effect, which allows average household bills to hit £2,500 a year, up from £1,971.

Liz Truss has so far refused to commit to raising benefits in line with inflation, which would mean a real-terms cut for claimants.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that ministers were “going to have to make decisions about how we bring down debt as a proportion of GDP in the medium term.”

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The Prime Minister added: “I am very committed to supporting the most vulnerable.”

Speaking about the UK Government, Mr Wilson said: “They seem to want people to work, so they pay them less benefit. But then for people like me who are unable to work, we have to rely on what we get.

“I don’t feel like enough is being done to help us and it is all very worrying.

“The worry manifests itself in stress, I’m getting a lot more headaches and I feel depressed most of the time.

“My bills now cost around £140, even though I am using less than I did before.

“I’ve set the thermostat so the heating won’t go on unless it is very, very cold and I only use hot water to boil a few pans.

“I’m really frightened about what next month’s bills are going to be. It’s getting to the point where I’m going to start missing meals to be able to pay.

“Even though I have quite an energy-efficient table-top oven, if I use it twice a day I know I am just burning through more electric.”

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