A Ramsbottom man has travelled to Downing Street to demand better financial support for disabled people.

Vince Ashton, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS), travelled to the capital on Tuesday to demand immediate help for disabled people to survive the winter.

Vince, 51, experiences daily fatigue as well as balance and mobility issues.

He is medically retired and claims Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a benefit designed to help disabled people cope with the extra cost of their condition, such as mobility aids and social care.

As the cost of living continues to rise, the money Vince receives is not enough to cover healthy food or pay for physiotherapy.

Vince, who was diagnosed with relapsing MS in 2011, said: “It’s important for me to come to London and support the MS Society’s Breaking Point campaign.

Bury Times: MS Society colleagues visiting Parliament MS Society colleagues visiting Parliament (Image: MS Society)

The cost-of-living crisis has made life so much harder and the PIP I receive just isn’t enough to get by on.

“I used to pay for physio which helped my mobility, but now I can’t afford it and I’m missing out.

“Not having this has caused me extra pain in my legs and body.

“I try to keep the heating off as much as possible but I’m worried about how cold it might get.

“I can’t afford to eat healthily as I just have to buy whatever’s cheapest. More support is needed right away.”

In last week’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveiled plans for a new cost of living support package.

The package will involve targeted payments to disabled people and those claiming benefits, but the MS Society points out that the support won’t reach people for months.

At Downing Street, Vince, alongside other members of the MS community, delivered a MS Society petition signed by over 14,000 people demanding immediate financial support.

For people with MS the rate of employment is 41 per cent, compared to 81 per cent for non-disabled people and many have to endure extra costs in order to maintain a basic standard of living including powering medical equipment, or paying for medications and therapies.

Anastasia Berry, policy manager at the MS Society, said: “Right now, people with MS are choosing between eating, putting their heating on, and travelling to vital medical appointments.

Bury Times: Vince Ashton (middle) with Joseph Brunwin, Rebecca Miller, Angharad Hopkinson, and Martin Pridgeon of the MS Society outside 10 Downing Street.Vince Ashton (middle) with Joseph Brunwin, Rebecca Miller, Angharad Hopkinson, and Martin Pridgeon of the MS Society outside 10 Downing Street. (Image: MS Society)

“We’re relieved the government has finally listened to our calls to increase benefits in line with inflation, but with people, like Martin, already at breaking point, how can it justify withholding this support for months?

“For years, successive governments have imposed unfair cuts on disabled people, so now the Chancellor’s thrown a few crumbs it sadly feels like a loaf.

“If this government is as committed to compassion as it claims to be, it must urgently bring the support package forward.”

In response, a UK government spokesperson said: “We know disabled people face additional costs and that is why we have put a strong financial support system in place.

“We urge people to check whether they are receiving all of the benefits to which they are entitled.

“As part of our £37bn package of support, we are supporting six million people with a disability or health condition with an extra £150 payment while millions of low-income households will also be receiving at least £1,200 of direct payments this year and the government’s Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical household around £900 over the winter.”