According to Age UK, a 50% increase in energy bills starting in April could cause a national emergency for millions of older people. The charity has written to the business secretary and the work and pensions secretary, urging them to act quickly to address the rising costs.
Older people are typically at home more than younger age groups and according to their regular use experts group predict that a £600 bill increase is likely to be a significant underestimation for many. And now they must “mitigate the potentially devastating impact of the escalating crisis,” according to the Age UK. And for that issue, they urged ministers to take immediate and decisive action on energy bills.
The major point to know about this emergency:
- The government’s price cap, which limits the amounts that suppliers can charge, is already at a record-beating £1,277. But analysts believe that it could rise further, to £1,995, on April 1. The rises are only for pushing up by high demand around the world. The rising inflation already intakes into the pensions of swathes of older people, but it become a big thing for those who are living on low fixed incomes.
- In a letter from Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, wrote: “Many older people on low incomes are rationing their energy use, and this is causing us real concern.”
- According to the charity, removing 5% VAT from all energy bills from April through at least the end of 2022, as well as providing supplementary payments of up to £500 to those on low incomes, could encourage vulnerable older people to keep their heating on this winter.
- Before turning off or turning down the heat, older people should call Age UK’s free national advice line on 0800 169 65 65. This call is for to ensure that they are receiving all financial help. And to be aware that energy suppliers have a legal obligation to help people who are struggling with bills or debt.
In the end “Energy price rises on the scale we are now seeing are unprecedented,” says Age UK. “The Government’s response must be equal to the threat they pose to older people”. Ministers will have to go further than offering financial support such as adding £10 per year to the Warm Home Discount Scheme.