Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, has today welcomed the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme and called for a long-term strategy to secure the financial sustainability of the sector.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “The publication of the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide much-needed reassurance to care services across the country, which have struggled with exponential increases in energy prices over recent months. The measures outlined today demonstrate that the Government has recognised the calls of Care England, but more is required as the increased costs faced by providers render the sector unsustainable going forwards without further action. Having been entirely excluded from previous support packages, the announcement is a welcome first step, but Care England is anxious to work with the Government on a strategy that secures the financial sustainability of the sector in the long-term.”
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme, announced on 21 September, details measures to support non-domestic customers, including care homes, with rising energy prices.
The announcement confirms that for the next six months, Government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers (including all UK businesses, the voluntary sector and the public sector), applying to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. The discount will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022 as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts.
Martin Green continues: “Care England has continued to present evidence to the Government which underscores the severe risk the energy crisis poses to the sustainability of care services across the country. While our demands for a non-domestic energy price cap have been met in principle, the Energy Bill Relief Scheme by no means represents a permanent solution to the energy crisis. Providers will continue to pay rates over 4 times what they had paid prior to August 2021, and are in desperate need of a long-term plan to secure financial sustainability. Care England would reiterate our calls to zero rate VAT for the care sector allowing providers to recover VAT or at the very least waive VAT on energy costs for care homes and call on the Government to recognise the vulnerable nature of the sector in their plans following March 2023.”