A MOTHER who received help from actress Kate Winslet with paying sky-high energy bills to keep her daughter alive is backing a campaign to highlight the “hidden” cost of living crisis facing disabled people in Scotland.

Carolynne Hunter was forced to launch a crowdfunding campaign after being warned the cost of operating life support for her daughter Freya, who has severe cerebral palsy and relies on oxygen for chronic breathing difficulties, could soar to £17,000 next year.

After hearing the family’s plight, Oscar winner Winslet stepped in to help by donating the full amount.

READ MORE: Tories slammed for allowing people to 'rely on celebrities' for energy support

But Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has warned the struggle to afford costs exacerbated by health conditions is far from unique, with disabled people having to make choices between charging a mobility scooter or buying food, for example.

One case it has highlighted is of a household which is being helped by a team of specialist energy caseworkers in Glasgow after facing a bill of £6300 for electricity and being chased by debt collectors.

The couple, who have not been identified, had been getting large bill estimate but were unable to read their own meter and the supplier had not sent out a meter reader since the onset of the pandemic.

The woman is not long out of hospital and uses a machine for her kidneys, a mobility scooter and a nebuliser.

A YouGov survey of more than 1000 adults in Scotland carried out in November found 37% are in households where someone has a disability or long-term health condition.

The charity’s analysis of the poll found 31% of adults in such households need to keep their homes at a certain temperature, 15% have to cook specific meals and 8% must run medical equipment, incurring higher costs.

CAS is urging disabled people or their carers to seek advice on household bills, describing it as a “hidden” cost of living crisis.

Hunter said: “It feels a lot of the time that people like Freya are hidden away in society but the cost of living crisis falls even harder on families like ours who have the heating on all day and run medical equipment constantly.

“We need to see cheaper deals for vulnerable consumers through social tariffs, and I would encourage anyone who is worried about their bills this winter to seek advice from the Citizens Advice network.”