Support 'isn't enough', charities say as energy support announced for sector

A new six-month energy scheme for charities, and businesses, has been announced by the prime minister, but charities have said it doesn't go far enough.

Consumers will see their energy costs capped, with a typical UK household paying no more than £2,500 a year for the next two years, from 1 October.

The exact price per unit, or kilowatt hour (kWh), is yet to be announced.

Businesses, including charities, will also see their energy costs capped at the same price per unit.

The scheme will run for six months. Though this will be reviewed in three months' time to see if the help should be more targeted towards certain industries.

It could then be extended for vulnerable businesses such as the hospitality sector with speculation it could be offered to charities too.

Many finer details of the scheme are yet to be announced and this story will be updated as news and reactions are announced.

Sector reaction

However, reactions from within the sector say that the support isn't enough.

Richard Sagar, head of policy at the Charity Finance Group said: "Action from the government for consumers is welcome, but even after this announcement energy bills will still be too expensive for many this winter. We would hope to see much more support for those on low incomes via a significant increase to Universal Credit and the benefits system, rather than a one-off £400 payment to households.”

“We were glad to see charities explicitly included in the business support measures announced, but for many charities, six months will not be long enough. We await further guidance on the scheme to provide us with the confidence that this will work for the voluntary sector."

Locality CEO Tony Armstrong said that support for charities was welcomed, but called for more support for community organisations on the frontlines: “As well as vital support for individuals, it’s good to see the Government’s energy price freeze will include charities and other organisations – many of whom are supporting struggling families through the cost-of-living crisis every day with food, warm spaces and mental health support.

“Though it’s welcome that energy bills will now not rise to predicted levels this Winter, they have already gone up a lot, and along with higher staffing, food and fuel bills, many organisations have already seen their overall costs doubling or trebling. This is threatening the survival of essential local services, and some are already being forced to close their doors.

“That’s why it’s crucial that community organisations at the front line are given additional targeted support as soon as possible. The longer they wait, the more vital local services will go to the wall, and the more people will be left without the help they desperately need this Winter.”

The Trussel Trust have also said it's not enough, posting a statement on twitter.

Alicia Walker, head of policy, research and campaigns added: “We welcome efforts to manage the cost of living crisis but today’s announcement, once again, falls short of meaningfully supporting the most vulnerable people in our society and does nothing to support those currently experiencing fuel poverty.

“The October price cap that has been set by Ms Truss is still far too high and we know that thousands of young people are already being forced to make impossible decisions between paying their bills and putting food on the table. Centrepoint’s recent research found that over a third of 16-25 year olds have gone a whole day without food due to the rising cost of living and unfair benefits entitlements, that leave them with 16% less Universal Credit standard allowance than over 25s. It is therefore clear that the government needs to do much more to protect vulnerable young people who are already at crisis point.
“During the pandemic the £20 Universal Credit uplift was a lifeline for young people and, as we face potentially darker financial times, young people need to be offered this lifeline once again. We hope the new government recognises that vulnerable young people need more support in order to keep the lights on and heat their homes.”

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