Magenta Living has joined forces with more than 30 British housing associations to call for more targeted Government support to help hundreds of thousands of low-income households who are expected to struggle to heat their homes again this winter.
Energy bills are set to remain high despite a cut in prices from July, experts have warned.
A typical household will pay £2,074 a year for gas and electricity from July, just £426 a year less than currently, after the regulator cut the energy price cap for England, Scotland and Wales.
With the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme (EBSS) discount now scrapped many customers will end up paying roughly the same.
Alongside Magenta Living, the letter has been signed by the Chief Executives of some the UK’s largest housing associations including Riverside, Clarion, Places for People, L&Q, Peabody, all members of the G15 housing association group and members of the Homes for the North, Greater Manchester Housing Providers and Liverpool City Region Housing Associations groups.
Collectively the housing associations which have signed the letter provide homes for more than 1.5m households.
Magenta Living’s Chief Executive, Debi Marriott-Lavery, said. “At Magenta Living, we put our customers at the heart of everything we do. We have supported them – and will continue to do so – during the current cost of living crisis. That’s why we had no hesitation in signing this letter asking the Government to make these important changes which will protect our most vulnerable customers this winter.”
Research by Citizens Advice found that 3.2m people were left without heat and light after running out of credit on their prepayment meter last year because they couldn’t afford to top it up.
In 2022 Citizens Advice spoke to 27,521 people who could not afford to top up their prepayment meter – more people than they have spoken to in the whole of the last 10 years combined.
Now 34 housing associations have united to write a joint letter to Government Ministers calling for further support to help stop a repeat of the hardship felt by low-income households last winter.
The letter has been sent to Amanda Solloway MP, Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability and Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
The letter has urged the Government to make three changes to protect those most in need this winter:
- Provide more targeted support through the Energy Bills Support Scheme and Energy Bills Discount Scheme for winter 2023-2024 for those on low incomes and the 1.7m households living in fuel poverty and are not registered for benefits.
- Expand eligibility for the Warm Homes Discount to include households on heat networks and without a direct relationship with an electricity supplier this winter.
- Extend the application deadline for Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding from 31 May until 31 December 2023.