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Our Response to the Autumn Statement

November 23, 2023

Our Response to the Autumn Statement Featured Image

Fuel Bank Foundation, the national fuel poverty charity, responds to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Matthew Cole, Head of Fuel Bank Foundation, said:

“Today’s Autumn Statement was a missed opportunity by the Government to take decisive action on tackling fuel poverty in the UK.

“The measures announced by the Chancellor to support low-income households fell some way short of what is needed to prevent more homes from falling into fuel crisis, both in the short and long-term.

“Whilst we welcome the increase in benefits in line with inflation – something Fuel Bank Foundation has been calling for – and the raising of Local Housing Rates, which will help 1.6 million low-income households, the statement lacked any specific financial support for energy bills. There was also no mention of support for homes off the gas grid in remote and rural communities that rely on unregulated fuels.

“Without government help, the average prepayment meter energy bill will still be around £2,000 a year, meaning customers will have to find an extra £313 to keep warm over winter, compared to those who pay by direct debit. And with millions of households still struggling with higher mortgage and rent payments, inflated food costs and paying off previously accrued debts, budgets will be at breaking point.
Matthew Cole, Head of Fuel Bank Foundation

“Such is the crippling cost of energy, in the last 12 months we have seen an 85% increase in demand for help from people who haven’t got the money to top up their prepayment gas and/or electricity meter, and we’re forecasting a further 26% increase in 2024.

“Once again, we’re calling for the Government to come up with a strategic action plan to tackle fuel poverty in the long term, whilst also delivering immediate support for those who are going to struggle this winter. Key to this has to be improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock, with priority given to homes that are hardest to heat.

“We would also like to see the government using money from VAT receipts on higher energy bills and unredeemed Energy Bill Support Scheme payments to fund targeted financial support for people on the lowest incomes.

“Lastly, the Government needs to urgently progress work on a Social Tariff to help customers who struggle to pay for energy but are not eligible for the Warm Homes Discount scheme.”

Read our 2023 Fuel Crisis Report to view our full findings and to find out how we propose to implement change.