Home Money Voters want cuts to energy bills for the most vulnerable households

Voters want cuts to energy bills for the most vulnerable households

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Energy dilemma: Many of the poorest households struggle to heat their homes during the coldest winter months, especially when energy bills remain high compared to historical norms.
  • Citizens want social energy rates to be established for less fortunate households
  • Social rates give discounts to the most vulnerable, but do not exist for energy bills
  • Despite strong support for these social rates, no political party supports them yet

Voters have called on the next government to help the most vulnerable with their energy bills.

Almost two-thirds (57 per cent) of the public want a social tariff to be launched to offer cheaper energy to those who really need it, according to campaign group Warm This Winter.

While 32 percent were neutral or did not know whether they supported it or not, only 11 percent of the public opposed the proposals.

A social tariff is a discounted energy bill for those most in need, such as those who are low-income, elderly, have young children, or rely on energy for their medical needs.

The average energy bill, currently £1,690 a year, will drop to £1,568 a year from 1 July.

Energy dilemma: Many of the poorest households struggle to heat their homes during the coldest winter months, especially when energy bills remain high compared to historical norms.

But some of the highest energy bills are paid by people who can least afford them, such as the elderly and disabled, who often need more energy for heat and to use medical equipment.

Discounted social tariffs are common for broadband and mobile phone deals, but only because the communications regulator forces companies to offer them.

But social tariffs have not existed for gas and electricity since energy companies began phasing them out in 2011.

There is some government help available, such as the Warm Home Discount scheme which last winter gave eligible households a payment of £150, although this covered less than 10 per cent of the average annual bill.

Despite strong support for social energy tariffs, they have so far not appeared in any political party manifesto for the 2024 general election. However, Labour’s manifesto has not yet been published.

The cross-party House of Commons Net Zero and Energy Security Committee last year recommended that social tariffs be introduced, along with other reforms to help vulnerable households stay warm each winter.

Voters across parties backed the plans: 68 per cent of 2019 Labor voters, 60 per cent of 2019 Liberal Democrats and 54 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters supported a social tariff.

The policy is most popular in Scotland (61 per cent) and even in London more than half back the proposals (51 per cent).

Regarding payment for the policy, a quarter of voters considered that it should be financed entirely through the energy industry (producers, networks and suppliers).

A similar number backed a combination of government funding and contributions from the energy industry.

Warm This Winter said businesses have generated more than £427 billion in profits since the start of the energy bills crisis, an increase of £7 billion since the last update in April 2024.

Simon Francis, convener of the Ending Energy Poverty Coalition, said: “Protecting vulnerable consumers from energy prices that remain well above 2021 levels is a popular and easy-to-implement policy that the “The next government must prioritize.”

Warm This Winter spokesperson Fiona Waters said: ‘Energy bills will rise again in October and years of staggering prices have taken their toll.

“That’s why we need the next government to act quickly after the election to end energy debt, protect households from the volatile global energy market, cut bills for good, improve housing standards and make Britain a clean energy superpower.

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