Government is urged to help OAPs with fuel bills

Government is urged to help OAPs with fuel bills as the energy price cap is set to be raised

  • New higher cap to be announced in early February with bills to soar in April
  • Fears that pensioners may switch off heating to minimise impact before cap
  • Baroness McIntosh said rising bills could plunge 1.5 million more households into fuel poverty

The Government has been urged to extend the Winter Fuel Allowance to help pensioners and poor families cope with crippling rises in energy bills.

Most consumers have been protected by the energy price cap, which means bills are capped at £1,277 for normal domestic usage. But a new higher cap is expected to be announced in early February, with bills set to soar to over £2,000 in April as a result.

There are fears that pensioners may switch off their heating to minimise the impact even before the new cap is set.

There are fears that pensioners may switch off their heating to minimise the impact even before the new cap is set (stock image)

Baroness McIntosh, a Conservative peer, said rising bills in April could also plunge 1.5 million more households into fuel poverty – where spending money to heat their homes takes them below the poverty line.

Extending the Winter Fuel Allowance to 2.4 million people on low incomes would provide them with a discount of up to £300, she told the House of Lords last week. The group is ‘easily identifiable’ because they already qualify for Cold Weather Payments, she added.

Other peers pressed for doubling the Fuel Allowance for pensioners.

Lord Sikka, professor of accounting at the University of Essex, said it remains unchanged since 2011.

Baroness McIntosh, a Conservative peer, said rising bills in April could also plunge 1.5 million more households into fuel poverty – where spending money to heat their homes takes them below the poverty line (stock image)

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