Skip to main content

Energy Bills: Support for Households

Volume 727: debated on Tuesday 7 February 2023

The Government have taken significant action to help households with rising energy prices. The energy price guarantee caps the unit price that households pay for electricity and gas and will save a typical household in Great Britain approximately £900 this winter, based on forecasts made at the time of the autumn statement. That is in addition to the £400 energy bills support scheme, paid in six instalments from October last year to March this year.

The high price of energy disproportionately affects those who are on the lowest incomes. Will my hon. Friend outline what steps his Department is taking to ensure that those who earn the least are supported?

My hon. Friend is a consistent champion for his constituents, particularly for those who are on the lowest incomes. He is quite right: I think we all accept that they will have faced the toughest challenge in the face of the very high cost of living, given the global inflationary pressures. In addition to the £1,300 that a typical household will receive this winter—the £900 energy price guarantee saving and the £400 energy bills support scheme payment—I can confirm that those households will have had £650 in the current financial year, if they are on benefits, and will have £900 next year. That is very significant and comprehensive support.

Support for households is incredibly important, but in the past half-hour Willow Wood Hospice, which provides hospice services to my constituents, has emailed me to raise the plight of the UK hospice sector, which faces up to a fivefold increase in its energy bills even after the Government’s energy bill relief scheme, which is due to end in March. What more can the Minister do to ensure that Willow Wood Hospice and hospices around the country get the extra support that they need?

The hon. Gentleman raises a very important case; I am more than happy for him to me to write to me with the specifics. I obviously cannot comment on individual cases, but what I would say is that when we set up the energy bill relief scheme—the original scheme, which is currently providing up to £18 billion of support not only for businesses, but for hospices, charities and organisations in the public sector—we were very clear that it could not be sustained at that level. It is extremely expensive, although it is very important and generous. In setting it up, we had a number of choices; we chose to maintain a universal scheme. Yes, there is some targeting in energy and trade-intensive sectors, but it is a universal scheme, meaning that hospices continue to benefit.