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Energy Bills Alternative Funds

Volume 741: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2023

10. What recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the energy bills support scheme alternative fund and the alternative fuel payment alternative fund. (900340)

The Government provide energy bills support through the energy bills support scheme alternative funding to over 150,000 households, and via the alternative fuel payment alternative fund to nearly 90,000 households that could not automatically access this vital support.

Energy bills are up 50% since 2021, but there was no mention of this in the autumn statement and £440 million earmarked for the most vulnerable households went unspent last year, yet in my constituency of Edinburgh West, pensioners, carers and disabled people who often have to use more electricity for life-saving equipment are paying those bigger bills. All of them are also paying higher standing charges than elsewhere in the UK. If the Chancellor will not commit to reopening the energy bills support scheme or the alternative fuel payment scheme, will the Secretary of State do so?

Of course, as a Government we are looking at the standing charges; it is imperative that we do that and Ofgem is working through that. We have also given an unprecedented amount of support to households and non-domestic organisations. I reiterate that there is support at the moment. We have the £900 for the cost of living. We also have the disability allowance and other allowances. To give assurance, I meet regularly with all stakeholders.