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Warm and well In North Yorkshire warns against perfect storm of fuel poverty due to potential benefit cuts and rising Energy Bills in April for North Yorkshire.

Warm and Well in North Yorkshire is warning that many more families may soon find themselves in heat or eat situations with the announcement by Ofgem that energy bills are to rise by £96 to £1,138 a year in April for households on standard or default tariffs. The price cap, set twice a year by the regulator, affects 11 million households in the UK who have never switched suppliers or whose discounted deals have expired. That accounts for about half of all UK households. The remainder are on so-called fixed deals, which will not be affected

  • Posted On: 16 February 2021
Warm and well In North Yorkshire warns against perfect storm of fuel poverty due to potential benefit cuts and rising Energy Bills in April for North Yorkshire.

Warm and Well in North Yorkshire is warning that many more families may soon find themselves in heat or eat situations with the announcement by Ofgem that energy bills are to rise by £96 to £1,138 a year in April for households on standard or default tariffs. The price cap, set twice a year by the regulator, affects 11 million households in the UK who have never switched suppliers or whose discounted deals have expired. That accounts for about half of all UK households. The remainder are on so-called fixed deals, which will not be affected.

This combined with the possibility of the loss of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit in April and persistent cold weather may create the perfect storm of fuel and food poverty across North Yorkshire.

At the last count in 2017 there were thought to be 24,045 properties in Fuel Poverty across North Yorkshire, that is 9.1% of the population of the county. However, this is thought to be much higher now due to the devastating financial effects of the pandemic on families across the area.

Warm and Well in North Yorkshire which is run by Citizens Advice and funded by North Yorkshire County Council helps people in fuel poverty across the region and has seen a 198% increase in referrals compared to this time last year. The organisation has handed out hundreds of fuel vouchers recently for many vulnerable people unable to pay their energy bills.

 With many children not being able to attend school and people having to work and stay in their home’s, energy costs have already risen sharply especially with the current cold weather. The rise in energy prices plus the potential cut to benefits could prove devasting to many people who are already struggling due to the effects of the pandemic with thousands of people seeing a drop in income due to being made redundant or having to close their businesses.

Julia Priestnall Project Coordinator for Warm and Well in North Yorkshire told us “We have seen a huge increase in people needing our help and many families simply having to choose whether to heat their home or put food on the table. Citizens Advice said its research in December indicated that 2.1 million households were already behind with Energy Bills across the UK and we expect this to rise with the impending rise in energy bills and the potential loss of the £20 uplift to welfare benefits. We are particularly worried about vulnerable people on pre-payment meters customers whose costs will increase by £87 to £1,156 a year.

With many families living in rural areas across the region often in older properties with poor insulation the energy cost rise and cut to universal credit and tax credits could create a perfect storm of fuel and food poverty. As a result of this we are joining our partners Citizens Advice across North Yorkshire in calling on the government to keep the lifeline and extending the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and Tax Credits beyond April to keep people out of fuel poverty. If we lost the £20 uplift research shows it’s the equivalent to almost 7 days energy costs and 3 days of food in North Yorkshire. If you, a loved one or a family member are at risk or are already suffering from fuel poverty contact us today, our specialist energy advisers are here for you and they can save you a lot of money on your energy bills.”

If you need help with fuel poverty in North Yorkshire contact Warm and Well in North Yorkshire on 01609 767 555. You can also make a referral online at https://www.warmandwell.org.uk/Referral-Form

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