‘Government energy bill support crucial to avert household crisis’

The Fuel Bank Foundation stresses the urgent necessity for government assistance to relieve financial strain on households unable to cover prepayment gas and electricity meter top ups

The UK faces a crisis in household finances, with a fuel poverty charity warning of millions of low income and vulnerable households on the edge of financial difficulty.

The Fuel Bank Foundation, which supports households unable to afford prepayment gas and electricity top-ups, urges government intervention to help struggling families.

With the imminent end of the Department for Work and Pensions’ final cost of living payment and the closure of the Household Support Fund on 31st March, vulnerable households face uncertainty.

Established in 2021, the Household Support Fund provided aid through vouchers for necessities like food and utilities, including free school meals during holidays.

Matthew Cole, head of Fuel Bank Foundation, called on the Chancellor to do more to help those most in need.

Mr Cole said: “We have one main ask for Mr Hunt in his Spring Statement and that’s to announce a package of further financial support to fill the void left by the cost of living and household support fund payments coming to an end.

“More specifically, we want to see more crisis energy support provided to help with fuel bills, which remain stubbornly high.

“These schemes offer a vital lifeline and financial safety net for millions of people in the UK. Without them, I fear the worst for those already struggling to make ends meet.”

A government spokesperson told Energy Live News: “A social tariff is about protecting vulnerable people and that’s exactly what we are doing by providing significant financial support for those who need it most.

“We have invested over £2 billion in the Household Support Fund over the last two years – with almost £800 million already paid to families with children to help with the cost of living.

“The current Fund is available up until March 2024 as part of wider cost of living support worth on average £3,700 per household, including raising benefits by 6.7% from April and increasing the Local Housing Allowance.”

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