"I don't know how I'm going to keep my children warm this winter."

Earlier this week, I met with the head teachers of two schools for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) who are considering how to collaborate more closely. During what should have been a 15-minute taxi ride to the school where we were meeting, I struck up a conversation with my taxi driver. 

After a couple of minutes of sharing thoughts on the cost of living crisis (how well our government appears to be doing Levelling-Down the UK), my driver said he knew the school I was visiting. He told me that one of his children has special educational needs and a disability requiring their home to be kept at a certain temperature pretty much all the time. 

Then he mentioned that his monthly energy bill had recently increased to almost £500. 

Looking a little tearful, he added, "I don't know how I'm going to keep my children warm this winter," then, "sorry, I've taken a wrong turning, but we should get there in time." I have a habit of arriving an hour or so early for meetings, so suggested we might pull over and grab a coffee. 

Shortly after arriving for the meeting, both headteachers began talking about how the cost of living crisis is bearing down on families, amplifying existing stresses and strains and fuelling an increase in relationship breakdown between parents - all of which is directly impacting the children in their care.

Travelling home after the meeting, I remembered the excellent 2017 report by the disability equality charity SCOPE, Our Disability Price Tag, highlighting the significant extra costs of ordinary life for disabled children and their families - £581 on average (even then).

Then I read the excellent article by my colleague Kadie Bennett and barrister Aimee Fox and thought I need to help share their wisdom and advice.