Exclusive: Vulnerable People 'Abandoned' As Energy Bill Help Falls Hundreds Of Pounds Short
Rishi Sunak has been accused of having “abandoned” millions of vulnerable people after a huge real-terms cut in the the help they get to heat their homes.
Research seen by HuffPost UK shows that the government’s Warm Home Discount has failed to keep up with the soaring cost of energy.
Around 2.8 million people are due to receive a £150 discount on their electricity bills next winter thanks to the scheme - £10 more than last year.
But if it had increased by the estimated energy inflation rate of 125%, the discount would be £315.
That means there is a £165 shortfall, which works out at a 52.4% cut in real terms.
The figures were revealed in research by the House of Commons Library commissioned by the Lib Dems.
Wera Hobhouse, the party’s energy spokesperson, said the help provided by the scheme should “urgently be doubled”.
“Once again some of the most vulnerable people in our society are being abandoned by this Conservative government,” she said.
“Support which is meant to go to people at most risk of fuel poverty is becoming less and less valuable.”
Hobhouse added: “It is these people we are meant to be protecting in this ongoing energy crisis.
“Too many are having to choose between heating and eating and the government is frankly failing to shield people from this reality.”
A government spokesperson said: “We know this is a difficult time for families, which is why the government covered around half of the typical household’s energy bill this winter.
“We have reformed and expanded the Warm Home Discount scheme to reach 800,000 more people than previously, and to provide more support per person, prioritising those households who are most likely to struggle to heat their homes.
“The Warm Home Discount is additional to other support the government is providing, which includes a £900 payment for those on means-tested benefits, £300 for pensioners and an extra £150 for disabled people.”
The government’s Energy Bill Support Scheme is also due to run out this May. It means the £67 a month payment that households have been receiving will no longer be available.
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