Euan’s Guide Access Survey finds disabled people forced to cut back on food and medical necessities due to increased energy costs

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The results of the 2023 Euan’s Guide Access Survey Supported by Motability Operations have found that disabled people continue to be disproportionately affected by the cost of living crisis. The survey also found that disabled people still face barriers in everyday activities. Over 6,000 people took part in the UK’s largest disabled access survey, 98% of whom identified as a disabled person.


In response to the Access Survey, 61% said they are cutting back on their energy usage and 50% are concerned about their energy usage.

Some of the comments received echo these statistics, with one respondent saying they’d told their husband to turn off their medical equipment, and another saying they were currently selling their house.

“I have told my husband to turn off my oxygen, my CPAP machine and my medical bed. We are putting at least £30 every other day on our electricity and gas and we just can't cope or afford it. It really affects my mental health.”

“I use several machines dependent on electricity to help me function. It feels like the Government are making it harder for me to be alive, and now I have anxiety to keep me company.” said one respondent.  Another said: “The choice was usually heating or eating. It is now a choice between heating, eating or paying bills.”

The recent cold weather has had a further impact on disabled people’s ability to balance their budgets in the face of increased heating costs.  “I turned my central heating off last year due to the cost. We only had it on for an hour when absolutely shivering.  We've cut back on everything yet are adding to our debt each month. How are families like us on benefits supposed to survive? It's surviving not living.” 

The cuts to household budgets are also impacting disabled people’s ability to travel independently and eat healthily, with 61% saying that they’ve cut back on their grocery spend and 28% reducing their vehicle costs. One respondent said: “I'm not able to visit my children and grandchildren as often due to the rising cost of petrol, our recreation is virtually zero, and cutting back on groceries is also a big part of healthy living.”

It’s not just the cost of living crisis that is leaving disabled people feeling marginalised. The 2023 Euan’s Guide Access Survey shows that disabled people continue to face challenges in everyday activities.


  • 91% of respondents said they try to find disabled access information before visiting a new place, yet 76% said they’ve found the information on a venue’s website to be misleading, confusing or inaccurate.
  • 86% said they check a venue’s website before visiting a new place, yet 79% said they’d experienced a disappointing trip or had to change their plans because of poor accessibility.
  • 59% said that if a venue has not shared its disabled access information they avoid going because they assume it is inaccessible.

When asked what the most common barriers disabled people face are, respondents said:

  • Dirty toilets (67%)
  • A lack of appropriate parking available (67%)
  • Not being able to get around the venue (63%)

When asked what would help improve disabled people’s confidence when visiting somewhere new, respondents said:

  • Accurate disabled access information (76%)
  • Easily available disabled access information (68%)
  • Accessible toilets (76%)
  • Accessible parking (75%)

Disabled people are more likely to visit somewhere new if they can:

  • Find relevant access information about the venue (77%)
  • Can see pictures and read what others have said beforehand (62%)
  • Feel welcomed by staff or the venue appears to care about accessibility (62%)

Euan MacDonald, founder of Euan’s Guide, said: “It’s really saddening to see that disabled people are still being disproportionately affected by the cost of living crisis, with some even being forced to sell their homes to be able to survive.

“The survey results also tell us that disabled people need more disabled access information and that businesses don’t appreciate the importance of sharing their disabled access information. Businesses are undervaluing disabled people, in both social inclusion and spending power.

“We’re delighted to be working with Motability Operations for a third year. We’re proud to be amplifying the voices and experiences of disabled people through the Access Survey, which is vital in establishing how disabled people feel about disabled access and the cost of living crisis.”

Andrew Miller, CEO of Motability Operations, said: “Motability Operations is a proud supporter of the Euan’s Guide Access Survey. It’s great so many of our customers took part in the survey and made their voices heard, and we look forward to our continued work with the organisation.”


Euan’s Guide is encouraging disabled people to review the places they visit on and use the website to find first-hand experiences of disabled access at venues across the UK and beyond. Likewise, venues can promote their disabled access information on their own website and by listing for free on

2023 was the ninth access survey by the award-winning disabled access charity Euan’s Guide, and the third year that the survey has been supported by Motability Operations, the company behind the Motability Scheme.

To view the full report and results visit


Tags: euans guide, access survey, 2023 access survey


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