Age UK has responded to Ofgem’s announcement that price cap will rise by 80% to £3,549 from 1st October 2022
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:
“Although the ballpark figure for the new price cap had been trailed in advance there will be many older people for whom this announcement is completely new and a huge shock. Millions of pensioners will now be coming to terms with the reality of what it means for them: the prospect of trying somehow to get through the autumn and winter with prices soaring and yet with very little flex in their fixed incomes. It’s a truly frightening prospect and one that most could not have prepared for, and never expected to face at this point in their lives. I think a lot of older people will be utterly bewildered that it has come to this and will also feel badly let down, and I can’t say I blame them.
“The new Prime Minister must make their first act providing additional support for the millions of households in our country whom rising inflation is set to overwhelm, among them many pensioners. We are fast approaching a national emergency which will leave a significant proportion of the population unable to afford even a basic standard of living. Every day older people are telling us how scared they are; they need urgent reassurance from the Government that they will not abandon them.
“It’s later than the Government thinks: we understand that there is essentially a transition underway between one Prime Minister and the next, but every day the economic forecasts seem to worsen and yet there is no clear word from the centre about how they will respond. Unfortunately, this is increasing the sense of insecurity many older people feel.
“That’s why the new Government must act quickly to give older people hope and confidence. In the meantime, it would be extremely helpful if both candidates made it clear that they will stand by those with most to fear from soaring inflation, among them many pensioners, over the difficult months to come.”
As a matter of urgency, Age UK is calling on the Government to:
• Provide a significant new package of financial support which will fully mitigate the impact of these price rises for vulnerable consumers
• Help those older people who are at greatest risk of missing out on energy support, particularly the around 1 million older households with a pre-payment meter, those living in park homes, those who are ‘off grid’, care home residents and people without access to the internet
• Reassure older people in Northern Ireland that help will reach them despite the lack of a sitting Assembly
• Keep their promise to reinstate the triple lock in April 2023
• Introduce a social tariff into the energy market which discounts bills for those most in need, automatically enrols eligible households, sits alongside existing support and is mandatory for all suppliers
• Help insulate vulnerable consumers from spiralling energy bills by investing in household energy efficiency for those on the lowest incomes