Warm and Well in North Yorkshire warns of perfect storm of fuel poverty as energy bills increase in October and Universal Credit is cut by £1040 a year.
Warm and Well in North Yorkshire is warning that come October, fuel poverty is expected to surge across North Yorkshire due to a combination of the loss of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and a rise in energy bills. The government recently confirmed that the £20 uplift will come to an end on September 30th of this year despite pleas from local and national charities such as Citizens Advice to support families further.
In addition to this it has been confirmed that people on standard energy tariffs could see an increase of £139 a year, from £1,138 to £1,277, regulator Ofgem has announced. Worryingly prepayment customers, who are often already in poverty, could see an increase of £153 a year, from £1,156 to £1,309 a year.
Warm and Well in North Yorkshire has helped 1451 families in fuel poverty since the start of the pandemic and has issued hundreds of fuel vouchers to families who have had no money to heat their homes. This is a rise of over 250% from 2019. Alarmingly, 73% of the referrals were for clients who are disabled or have a long-term health condition.
The organisation raises awareness of the impact of cold homes on people’s health and wellbeing, offers practical solutions to reduce fuel poverty, and supports people and communities to stay warm and well.
Warm and Well in North Yorkshire Project Coordinator said “We are extremely worried about the increase in tariffs across the region combined with the loss of the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift in October. The uplift is the equivalent to almost 7 days energy costs and 3 days of food in North Yorkshire. We have already been supporting families in heat or eat situations throughout the spring and summer of this year, so we are expecting an unprecedented rise in referrals as the weather gets cooler in October.
We are particularly worried about people that are disabled or have a long-term health condition that live in rural areas which make up the majority of cases we have been dealing with. As we know many properties across the region are poorly insulated which leads to higher fuel costs so there are already high levels of fuel poverty in North Yorkshire. This price hike could lead to a perfect storm for families this autumn, hitting people at the same time as a Universal Credit cut and the end of furlough support. Families on Universal Credit are far more likely to already be in energy debt already.
We are advising our clients to contact us to look at their options before the Energy Cap comes into play on the 1st of October. We have been reaching out to rural areas with our energy specialists joining Citizens Advice Rural Advice Bus and have launched our ‘Best Energy Savings Summer’ campaign to raise awareness about fuel poverty and the support we can provide.
If you are worried about fuel poverty yourself, or you are concerned about a loved one or neighbour contact us today and our energy adviser specialists will do everything they can to help.”