A fuel discount scheme intended to help hundreds of thousands keep warm is failing almost in its entirety and risks the lives of children, Save the Children have claimed. According to the charity only 3% of the 800,000 families eligible for the Warm Homes Discount scheme will receive it due to a funding shortfall from the power suppliers.
Save the Children CEO Justin Forsyth said: “It’s unacceptable that 97% of the UK’s poorest families who need help heating their homes this winter will get nothing because energy companies have not put up nearly enough money. Without this help the choice for parentsis stark:cut back on food, get into debt or risk their children’s health because they can’t afford to keep themwarm.The scheme urgently needs millions more from the energy companies, or the cost will be counted in children’s futures.”
The charity’s ‘No Child Left In The Cold’ campaign is calling on energy companies and the Government to stump up more cash, so all families eligible for the discount receive it.
Christine McGourty, Director of Big Six representative Energy UK disagreed: “Far more than 25,000 families will get help from their energy companies this year. Almost £180 million was spent last year on voluntary schemes to help nearly 2 million of the most vulnerable customers and that figure will increase to £250 million this year.”
“A wider group of 650,000 people by 2013/14 will also benefit and customers should contact their energy suppliers directly to find out if they are eligible.”