Households in York could pay more than £500 extra a year due to the increase in the energy price cap.
As experts predict a surge in average bills, York’s Liberal Democrat councillors are calling for urgent Government help through expansion of the Warm Home Discount and continuation of welfare support grants. This intervention would see the current £140 discount doubled and extended, with an extra 605 vulnerable residents receiving much-needed support in York, including pensioners who receive any type of pension credit and all those who receive Universal Credit, in the face of the unprecedented rise in bills.
Experts predict the average annual bill of £1,277 could surge 46% to £1,865 when the energy price cap lifts in April, then pass £2,000 with a 20% rise at the next review in August.
Through the Household Support Fund and the York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS) the Council continues to deliver support to several thousand of the most vulnerable in the city, from food vouchers to financial assistance with household bills. A new winter fuel voucher scheme is also currently offering direct support to those struggling to pay for rising energy and heating bills.
However, with Government welfare support grants expected to be cut off from the 31st March, councillors are calling for direct support to be extended to financially vulnerable residents facing skyrocketing energy bills.
Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance at City of York Council, commented:
“Residents are already struggling with almost two years of the pandemic and loss of income, and are now facing a cost of living crisis. Many are seeing a double whammy of rising bills and the slashing of vital support from Government.
“This Government has failed to tackle the problem. They’ve scrapped insulation programmes that would have reduced people’s bills and cut support for the most vulnerable whilst increasing the UK’s dependence on imported gas.
“Through Council-delivered schemes and work with community organisations across the city we have prioritised support for the most vulnerable. However, it’s clear that urgent Government intervention is needed to ensure that residents avoid the oncoming financial cliff edge at the end of March, just as bills are set to rise once again.
“Beyond the need to establish a new long-term home insulation programme to cut bills permanently, due to this pressing emergency, we need Government action now. By doubling the Warm Home Discount and ensuring welfare support grants are extended, the most vulnerable households across the city would receive much-needed support and reassurance, as they face the cost of living crisis.”