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End Fuel Poverty Coalition

The overwhelming majority of the population believe the Government should do more to help people through the energy crisis, according to new polling by Omnisis on behalf of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.

Over 60 charities and organisations, co-ordinated by the Warm This Winter campaign, including the National Pensioners Convention, have joined forces to write to the new Prime Minister [see below] demanding more financial and non-financial support for the 7m UK households currently in fuel poverty.

The letter goes on to call for the upweighting of benefits and urgent clarification of energy bills support available from April 2023, a massive programme of energy efficiency measures and the speeding up of moves to cheaper renewable energy.

The campaigners are supported by the new research which shows 76% of the population think the Government is not doing enough to support vulnerable households this winter.

Even taking into account the Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bills Support Scheme pledged by the Government, 58% of the population believe they will struggle to pay their bills this winter.

The research shows that people in the South West (68%), Wales (64%), the East Midlands and the North East (both 63%) are the areas where the most people are fighting to make ends meet.

And the situation will get worse. Over 8 in 10 (83%) are very or quite worried about the prospect of bills going up further in April 2023 when the current Government support programmes run out.

Find out more

Download the letter

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Dear Prime Minister,

Firstly, congratulations on yourappointment. We are writing from a coalition of the UK’s leading charities to ask you, in your new role,to act now on the energy and poverty crisis.

Without immediate action from yourgovernment, it is estimated that aroundsevenmillion households 1 will face an impossible winter, being forced to make unimaginably difficult choices between heating their homes and putting food on the table. In many cases it will be even worse than this as those with preexistinghealth conditionsand disabilities are forced to face the severe health consequences of living in a cold damp home 2.

Aswe aresure you are aware, this will be felt particularly strongly in your constituency, with 26% of households, above the national average, already living in fuel poverty. By April, with the removal of the Energy Price Guarantee, 39% of households in your constituency could be forced to make decisions between basic lifelines 3. But there is a way through: we believe there are two urgent priorities, which we would hope to see as a central part of your agenda, including in your Autumn Statement.

First,we urge you toexpand the support available to people this winter. The support offered so far, such as the Energy Price Guarantee has been welcome. However, so much more is needed, especially for those hardest hit by this crisis, to stave off the worst impacts 4. Alongside this, we need urgent clarity on the future of financial support from April of next year. The average bill is expected to be over £4000 5, almost four times more than it was before the gas price crisis. As a first step, the decision to uprate benefits in line with inflation,ashas been conventional,shouldbe confirmed and implemented as soon as possible.

Second, the quickest, cheapest and simplest way to bring down bills in the medium-term is to embark rapidly on a massive national programme of insulating our homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces. The existing government schemes do not meet the scale of the crisis. We estimate that a proper insulation scheme could save households,on average,around £500 6 on their bills each year, and sucha programmewould soon pay for itself 7.

Alongside these immediatemeasures, we urge you to instruct your new Business Secretary to implement a plan for a rapid roll-out, in harmony with nature, of clean, renewable energy, moving the UK beyond expensive, volatile fossil fuels and enhancing UK energy security as soon as possible. Onshore and offshore wind and solar energy are many times cheaper than gas. Now is the time for our islands, with their huge renewable energy resources, to show the world how to tackle the cost of living and climate crises at the same time. We must not look to the industries of the past at this moment of crisis: they are a distraction.

By building out this vision, we can end this crisis and reinvigorate the economy. Clear policy signals and targeted public investment can unlock huge sums of privatecapital, driving a cost-effective transition that benefits homeowners, builds a stronger economy and protects the planet.

We wish you all the best in your role-and given the urgency of this crisis, we would appreciate a response to this letter as soonas possible, and would value an opportunity to discuss these issues in-person with you within your first month in office.

Yours sincerely,

Shaun Spiers, Green Alliance,Executive Director

Caroline Abrahams, AgeUK, Charity Director

Gwen Hines,Save the Children UK,CEO

Polly Neate, Shelter, CEO

Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB, CEO

Melissa Green, National Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI), General Secretary

Joe Cole,Advice for Renters,Chief Executive

Jane Collins,Foster Support,Chief Executive

Joan Edwards OBE,The Wildlife Trusts,Director of Policy and Public Affairs

Simon Francis,End Fuel Poverty Coalition,Co-ordinator

Katy Styles, We Care Campaign, Founder

Ellen Lebethe,Lambeth Pensioners Action Group,Chair

Sue RiddlestoneOBE,Bioregional,Chief Executive

Jan Shortt,National Pensioners Convention,General Secretary

Max Wakefield,Possible,Co-Director

Janine Michael,Centre for Sustainable Energy,Deputy Chief Executive