- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
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Mike Hedges MS welcomes further support to help people with soaring fuel costs
Local Member of the Senedd, Mike Hedges, has welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Labour Government that some of the most vulnerable households in Swansea East will receive further help with soaring energy bills.
Welsh Labour’s Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS has launched a £4m fuel voucher scheme.
The extra help will be targeted towards people with pre-payment meters and households not connected to mains gas.
This vital support comes as figures show people on pre-payment meters in South Wales have been some of the hardest hit in the UK by rising standing charges – standing charges for people on pre-payment meters have risen by 94% which is the fourth highest in Britain.
The £4m of new funding will enable the Fuel Bank Foundation to introduce a national voucher scheme, providing direct support to eligible households on prepayment meters and those not connected to the mains gas network.
Welcoming the targeted support, Mike Hedges MS said:
“Families in Swansea East are facing a cost-of-living crisis thanks to the economic choices and mismanagement of the UK Conservative Government. Soaring energy bills are having a devastating impact on households.
“Figures show that people with prepayment meters are the most susceptible to rising costs and increased standing charges. Many households not connected to the mains gas network are also reporting a doubling in the cost of heating oil over the past two months.
“While the Conservatives continue to fail people, the Welsh Labour Government is stepping in and doing everything they can within their powers and budget to support families.
“I welcome this latest targeted support which will help people on pre-payment meters and those who are not on mains gas – both ignored by the Chancellor in his latest package.”
Vouchers will range from £30 in summer months to £49 in winter, with households receiving up to three vouchers over a six-month period.
The £4m will also include a Heat Fund, which will provide direct support to eligible households living off the gas grid, which are reliant on heating oil and liquid gas. This will help an estimated 2,000 households across Wales.
The extra funding and target support comes as households are struggling to pay higher energy bills, exacerbated by the increase in the domestic energy cap rise in April.
Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit have seen a typical average household energy bill increase by £693 a year, while people on prepayment meters have been hardest hit, with increases of £708 a year.
Households not connected to the mains gas network are also suffering from rising fuel costs and being forced into fuel poverty, with approximately one in 10 households reliant on heating oil in Wales. A delivery of 500 litres of heating oil normally costing approximately £340 can in some regions now cost upwards of £750.
Notes to editors:
Nearly 120,000 people on prepayment meters will be eligible for approximately 49,000 vouchers to support them during the cost-of-living crisis.
Households will be eligible for Fuel Bank support if they meet the following criteria, including:
- They must be a pre-payment energy customer, or off the gas grid
- They must also be in intense financial crisis, unable to fund the basic essentials for everyday living (including food, rent or mortgage, energy, water, council tax, and essential travel).
- The consumer must be at immediate risk of self-disconnection, or indeed have already self-disconnected, or is making choices that may cause significant detriment to ensure that energy is funded.
While arrangements are put in place to enable this new scheme to become operational, people who are struggling as a result of the cost of living crisis can speak to Single Advice Fund providers to ensure they are receiving all the financial support they are entitled to.
The Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund is also available for those experiencing extreme financial pressures.
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