Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington, attended the cost-of-living parliamentary event organised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) on Monday 24 April in Parliament.
57 MPs joined RNIB to learn more about the additional financial challenges people with sight loss are facing as a consequence of the cost-of-living crisis.
Guests were invited to take part in an interactive board game, and quiz, and there were also demonstrations of essential equipment blind and partially sighted people use to maintain their independence.
Before prices began to rise, one in five blind and partially sighted people said they had difficulty making ends meet, and the rising cost-of-living has only made this situation worse.
Extra costs can be incurred from a need for assistive technology, a greater need for taxi journeys, support in the home, additional lighting, and much more.
RNIB is urgently calling for more support for people with sight loss to cope with energy bills, including the development and implementation of a social energy tariff, and for benefit rates to be reviewed and rebased so people can afford an adequate standard of living and manage the extra costs that come with sight loss.
RNIB are encouraging people living with a vision impairment who might be finding the rising cost-of-living challenging or would like to talk through their options, to call RNIB’s Helpline on 0303 123 9999, visit rnib.org.uk/advice or email email@example.com.
Jeff Smith MP said:
“Learning about some of the day-to-day challenges people with sight loss are facing was hugely informative. People are struggling to cope with the additional costs of living with sight loss, in addition to the rise in the price of essentials like food, housing, and transport. I urge the Government to do more to support them.”
Sophie Dodgeon, Head of Policy and Public Affairs said:
“We hope the parliamentary drop-in was insightful and that MPs were able to get a glimpse of how the rapid rise in the cost of living over the last year is affecting blind and partially sighted people across the UK. High living costs are not likely to ease at all soon, and we continue to call on the government to do more to support blind and partially sighted people.”