Disabled woman says Sunak’s measures won’t make ‘a difference in my purse’

Julie Inglis, 53, was forced to retire after multiple strokes, and now lives with several conditions, including fibromyalgia.

27 May 2022

Rishi Sunak’s measures to help disabled people during the cost-of-living crisis are not enough and will be “quickly swallowed up”, a woman living on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) has said.

Julie Inglis, 53, from Forres in the north of Scotland, worked in an ambulance control centre but had to retire after multiple strokes.

She lives with chronic pain, and has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung condition that causes breathing difficulty.

Julie Inglis told PA there was nothing more she could do to reduce spending (Julie Inglis/PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency following Mr Sunak’s statement on Thursday, Ms Inglis said: “Although yesterday’s announcements were very welcome and will make a difference, I’d be lying if I said it was enough.

“I’m sure most in my position will be the same. We’ve been struggling for so long that a few hundred here or there is quickly swallowed up and just reduces the debt a little.

“I won’t feel a difference in my purse.”

Mr Sunak’s announcement included a £650 one-off payment for those on means-tested benefits and a one-off payment of £150 for those on certain disability benefits.

The typical annual household energy bill is forecast to rise by more than £800 in October, according to the industry regulator Ofgem.

Having fibromyalgia makes Ms Inglis especially sensitive to the cold and she has to run her heating for longer than normal.

“I have to put all the heating on for hours to feel any impact and it’s still not enough,” she said.

“It’s May, yet I’ve been sitting wrapped in blankets everyday cos it’s so cold. I dread to think what winter is going to be like.

“I feel really ungrateful complaining… (but) I think it’s going to be a long time before anything starts to make a difference.”

Ms Inglis said she was “out of ideas” for ways to reduce spending.

“Probably the worst thing (is) the lack of hope,” she said.

“I can’t earn my way out of it.

“I have nothing left of any value that I can sell. I’ve budgeted every single thing possible. I don’t drink or smoke… I’m out of ideas.”

Ms Inglis called on Mr Sunak, who has a net worth of £730 million according to the Sunday Times Rich List, to “spend decent time with someone who is trying to survive on benefits”.

“Although he says all the right things we know he can never know what desperation feels like… his reality is so far removed from ours,” she added.

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