Chancellor must act fast on UK fuel poverty as Ukraine crisis hikes fuel prices even higher

The following press release contains a statement in support of the Ukranian people made by officers of NPC. We felt it appropriate to make this statement in solidarity with pensioners in the Ukraine who are isolated, afraid and without the required documents to enable them to leave.


We hope that members will make contact with HelpAge International to support the older generation in Ukraine in whatever way you can.

 

The National Pensioners’ Convention says the Chancellor must move to protect the UK’s older people as the Ukraine crisis triggers global fuel price rises.


‘NPC stands with brave Ukranians fighting for their democracy’


The UK’s largest campaign group for older people backs the brave Ukrainians fighting for democracy. As the war intensifies, the NPC fears the impact on the country’s pensioners - as raised by Help Age International*- and is appealing for an immediate waiver of visa barriers to older Ukrainians seeking refuge in the UK.


But the NPC believes the effect of the war upon world energy prices also requires urgent government action at home to offset rocketing fuel prices.


NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt said: “The NPC stands squarely with the brave people of Ukraine defending their democracy - as does the rest of society and most of the rest of the world - and we are particularly worried about the plight of the country’s older people who must be isolated and terrified. The Home Secretary, in common with other countries, must also remove visa restrictions for older Ukrainians – many without passports – who want to shelter here.


“But we also fear how the conflict will impact on older people in the UK – millions of whom are already struggling to afford their energy bills - as the war causes a steep hike in global fuel prices.”


New fixed tariff energy bills are double current rate’


Jan added: “Many NPC members have just received shocking new fixed tariff quotes from their suppliers that are double the rate they are currently paying. Now they worry uncapped energy prices will make their gas and electric completely unaffordable as the world markets react to the Ukraine conflict.


“The Chancellor must do more to alleviate rising fuel costs for our oldest and most vulnerable. His measures to date are far from enough – now world events are going to make fuel poverty into a crisis at home.”


“My own MP has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking why he put me and everyone else into debt to the tune of £200 without asking when other countries with less viable economies have just taken that off bills or given it to householders.”


CASE STUDY- FIXED RATE TARIFF RISE DOUBLES:


NPC member Barry Todman has received a letter from his energy supplier Octopus saying his fixed term contract is coming to an end on 29th March 2022. Octopus offer him three options, which would:


1. Do nothing and go onto the Octopus ‘flexible rate’ where he would expect to pay £2,037.03 a year or £169.75 per month (up from £125 a month), but bear the risk of having the tariff go up as the market dictates.


2. Go onto a new fixed rate tariff which would cost £4,188.07 a year or £349.01 per month – double the above rate.


3. Or… shop around (in other words, if you don’t like it, go elsewhere).

Barry said: “This is just a ridiculous price hike – who on earth can afford to start paying double per month for their gas and electric or take their chances in a fuel market that is out of control. Something must be done.”


ENDS


*To find out more about how the war is impacting older Ukrainians visit:

https://www.ageinternational.org.uk/news-features/news/2022/older-people-in-ukraine-again-call-for-peace-and-protection/


OR to donate or support them on the ground visit:

www.helpage.org/get-involved/support-help-age


**The Chancellor’s currentmeasures to mitigate fuel prices rises include a council tax rebate, paid in April, worth £150 for each property in England in bands A to D. He will also cut £200 off electricity bills in the UK, but not until October, which will have to be repaid by adding £40 to electricity bills annually for five years from 2023.


You can download the press release below

NEWS - Ukraine war will escalate UK fuel poverty crisis - Chancellor must act!
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