Fuel stress should increase from April and affect one in four elderly households and four in the five poorest – and in October it could worsen.

According to a new analysis by the charity Age UK, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of older families in England will experience fuel stress if energy prices rise from 1 April. That’s more than a little more than one in ten (12 percent) now.

Fuel stress is defined as spending more than 10 percent of your income after paying energy bills to maintain proper heat levels.

In a new paper released today, the charity warns that the figure could rise even more, as more than a third (35 percent) of older families are expected to be stressed by fuel when prices rise again in October.

The most worrying thing is that the new analysis shows the dramatic impact of price increases on 10% of the poorest elderly families. About half of this group (51 percent) are already experiencing fuel stress, and from next month without intervention, the figure will rise to nine out of 10 (91 percent). But even if the proposed £ 150 tax rebate reaches all those who need it, Age UK predicts that figure will rise to 82 per cent in April – possibly reaching 91 per cent in October, even with a promised additional rebate of 200 pounds to electricity bills. this fall.

With many older people already struggling to raise the cost of living, Age UK warns that foundations such as food and heating are fast becoming inaccessible to many low-income retirees – and this is up to of how energy tariffs next month will rise even higher. And given gas wholesale prices at record prices and analysts estimate that average electricity bills could rise to more than £ 3,000 a year, the charity is deeply concerned that the support package announced by the government last month did not meet the requirements. to protect the elderly. on low and modest incomes from unsustainable electricity bills.

To help the most vulnerable older people in the current crisis, the charity is urging the government to urgently direct more financial support by:

• Introduction of a targeted support package that mitigates all price increases in April for low-income households.
• Providing direct payments of up to £ 500 to people eligible for payment in cold weather.
• Doubling the discretionary fund to £ 288 million so more people can claim the discount.
• Help everyone who is entitled to a retirement loan get it.
• Consultations on a new social energy tariff with Ofgem and the adoption of legislation to extend the price limit after 2023.

Caroline Abrahams, director of the charity Age UK, said: “The current energy price crisis is a nightmare for all of us, but especially for low-income and modest-income older people. Many are struggling in the best of times to cope with their state pensions, but the rising electricity bills we now see pose a real threat to their standard of living. No matter how frugal they are, they just don’t have the money to handle such steep climbs.

“Unfortunately, the support package proposed by the Chancellor last month was insufficient, which is a few hundred pounds a year less than the average increase in energy prices along the way. How should an older person or a couple with a low fixed income make up for the difference? The government has no answer, and meanwhile seniors across the country are telling us they are horrified by the emails they receive from their energy companies, making it clear that their bills will be above anything they have seen before.

“Without a more generous support package targeted at those with low and modest incomes, there is no doubt that hundreds of thousands of older people will be forced to cut back on heating, food and other necessities. their own health is at stake. Some say worrying about what will happen is already exhausting them.

“These are very worrying times, but the government can – and should – do more to reduce the risks to our elderly population, who need to keep warm enough for their health. The sad fact is that many retirees live in old houses that are difficult and expensive to heat, which increases the risks for them of this energy price crisis. The government must intervene to protect them from an unprecedented situation that arose through no fault of their own. ”

As part of its “Cost of Cold” campaign, Age UK is urging anyone who struggles to contact for full benefit verification information in case they are one of many who lose vital benefits such as a retirement loan that opens the door for a wide range of other support. People can call the Age UK Advice Line on the toll-free number 0800 169 65 65, contact your local Age UK office or visit their website at clicking here.

To apply for a retirement loan, people should call the retirement loan application line at 0800 99 1234 or visit their website at clicking here.

Age UK urges the Chancellor to do more to help older people through the energy price crisis

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