Sharon McDougall - 8th March 2023 - 2 minutes to read
Charity organisations are calling on the UK government to distribute cash payments worth up to £1,500 to help low income and indebted households pay their energy bills.
Celebrity money saving expert Martin Lewis and the campaign group Energy Action UK are also supporting plans described as a “social tariff” that would be designed to give millions more people a better chance of surviving financially in an era of high energy bills.
Plans for cash payments to be given to low income households have been put together by Citizens Advice on the basis of nine months of research.
Citizens Advice bureaux in Scotland and across the UK have seen a huge upswing in demand for support in relation to energy bills and the associated debts over the course of the past year.
The charity is convinced that high energy bills are likely to be around for some time to come and concerned that the consequences could be extreme for low income households and people already facing debt problems.
From Citizens Advice’s perspective, a social tariff and cash payments for those who need them would represent the best long-term solution to a situation in which millions of people are paying more than they can really afford on their energy bills.
Inevitably, people on low incomes and those with existing debt problems have already proven particularly vulnerable to the ramifications of seeing their energy bills increase dramatically within a short space of time.
Without a clear plan and without significant financial help being provided by government, these issues look set to become increasingly serious and significant over the course of the next few years, campaigners have warned.
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has backed its sister organisation’s social tariff plans wholeheartedly and noted that energy bill increases have become a very widespread problem for people throughout Scotland recent months.
“The energy bill crisis is not going to go away anytime soon and too many households are struggling to afford their bills,” commented David Hilferty, CAS’ social justice spokesperson.
“A social tariff would protect people who are currently faced with impossible decisions about how to spend limited resources and provide assurances over affordability in the longer term,” he added.
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