The Government has announced a cut in the support available to households in fuel poverty next winter.
While the Energy Price Guarantee will continue to cap the unit cost of energy, all energy bills will increase from 1 April 2023 – at the same time as the Energy Bills Support Scheme finishes.
The final increase will depend on energy prices, which have fallen in recent months, but currently predictions range from a 12% to 20% increase.
In 2022/23, the most vulnerable households were given support of up to £1,500. According to media reports, for 2023/24 the figure reduces to £1,350. A 10% cut in support.
These changes come on top of additional increases in energy costs which many Economy 7 customers saw on their bills from 1 January 2023. Support in 2023/24 for households not on means-tested benefits and those living in “off gas grid” properties have also yet to be confirmed by the Government.
A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:
This winter we have seen over 9m adults living in Dickensian conditions in cold damp homes.
Yet despite energy bills increasing by 20% from April 2023, the support for the most vulnerable announced by the Government has not increased from last year.
In short, bills are going up, support is going down and households will be worse off than they were this winter.
While we support the principle of prioritising support for those who need it the most, the Government must go further to help the millions of homes in fuel poverty throughout 2023.
This does mean more financial support, but also non-financial measures such as banning the forced transfer of households onto more expensive pre-payment meters.
Based on media reports, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimate that the support on offer in 2023/24 will be as below:
|Financial Year 2022/23||Financial Year 2023/24|
|£2,500 average household bill through Energy Price Guarantee*||£3,000 average household bill through Energy Price Guarantee*|
|£400 Energy Bill Support Scheme to all households.||No plans to extend scheme.|
|£650 cost-of-living payment for means-tested benefit claimants, split into two payments (in summer and autumn 2022).||£900 payment to 8m households on means tested benefits (in four instalments through to Spring 2024)|
|£150 payments for people with disabilities.||£150 payment for more than six million people with disabilities.|
|Up to £300 payment for pensioners.||£300 for over eight million pensioners on top of their Winter Fuel Payments.|
|Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment||Source: Press Association as reported by ITV and others.|