While the energy price cap for 1 October – 31 December 2023 will see a reduction on the current quarter’s price cap, energy bills will continue to be unaffordable for unpaid carers, who are vulnerable to rising costs. They have a limited ability to earn an income and are frequently unable to reduce energy costs without impacting the safety of those for whom they care.
We know from our own research that the percentage of carers who are unable to afford utility bills more than doubled between 2021 and 2022 (from 6 per cent to 14 per cent), and that 25 per cent of carers have been cutting back on essentials, including heating. With the current and forthcoming energy price caps still above 2021 levels, unpaid carers will continue to be hard hit by energy costs, even with this reduction in the cap.
Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers UK, said:
"The cost of living and Energy Bills Support Scheme payments both provided much needed support for unpaid carers. However, the Energy Bills support scheme ended in March and the cost-of-living payment is due to finish in Spring 2024. We, along with other organisations, are calling on Government to urgently introduce a targeted social tariff for the energy market. This would allow for those in the greatest need, including carers, to be able to afford energy costs. Without targeted support, too many carers and the people for whom they care for will be pushed further into poverty.”