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Carers UK comments on Government response to rise in energy costs

03 February 2022

The Chancellor, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, today set out the Government’s response to the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills, following the announcement this morning by Ofgem of a 54% increase to the energy price cap, which will on average see bills rise by £693 a year from April 2022.  

Responding, Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for Carers UK said:

“Unpaid carers will be disappointed by what they heard from the Chancellor today as this doesn’t go far enough to provide the targeted support carers need.

“Despite the measures announced by Government[1], many unpaid carers will be unable to meet these additional costs and face extremely difficult decisions in the coming weeks and months.

“A quarter of carers are already unable to manage their monthly expenses. At the end of last year, many told us they were dipping into savings, using credit cards, and cutting back on essentials to keep the person their care for warm and healthy. With energy bills set to soar by 54% this April, and even higher later this year, more will be pushed into financial difficulty.

“Carers have already contacted us today, since the price rises were announced, fearful of the consequences this will have on them and their families without targeted help.

“To ensure carers can keep themselves and the people they care for warm, we are calling on the Government to take urgent action to ensure carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance are included in the extension of the Warm Home Discount scheme that was announced today and provide additional support for carers with energy bills. We also need further measures to address the rate of Carer’s Allowance, where carers will see their incomes falling behind inflation. Carer’s Allowance is set to rise by only 3.1% in April 2022, while inflation (CPI) is expected to reach 7.25%.

“Without this additional support, many unpaid carers will be pushed further into poverty that will have a lasting impact on their finances and quality of life.”

 

[1]
This morning, the Government announced a £9bn package of support to address the rising costs families are facing. This includes the introduction of a new Energy Bills Rebate, through which all households will get a £200 discount on their bills, paid from October 2022, which will have to be repaid over 5 years. The Government also announced that people in Council Tax bands A-D will (roughly 80% of all households in England) will receive a £150 council tax rebate – this will not have to be repaid – and that there will be a discretionary fund worth £150m to help people in homes in higher council tax bands who need help. The Chancellor also confirmed that it will be extending the Warm Home Discount so that more people are eligible for this support.  

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