Price of energy price guarantee incomparable to heavy human cost of inaction
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has revealed in his Mini Budget statement that the cost to taxpayers of energy bill support to households and businesses this winter will be £60 billion.
Our Chief Executive, Dr Carole Easton, says substantial financial intervention is needed to save lives this winter but the government also needs to pursue a long-term, sustainable solution now.
The Chancellor has confirmed this morning that the government’s fiscal intervention to help households and businesses with their energy bills will cost taxpayers £60 billion over the next six months.
The energy price guarantee will see the annual energy bill for the typical home limited to £2,500 – £1,000 less than the Ofgem energy price cap announced last month but still £1,000 higher than last October’s energy price cap.
The first instalments of additional cost-of-living payments for all households, which will total £400, will be paid out to all domestic energy customers from next month.
Additional support payments are also available to certain people based on age and benefit eligibility criteria. The Centre for Ageing Better has welcomed the level of support being made available but still has significant concerns that it will not go far enough for some of the poorest people in society and additional targeted support maybe required.
We're also calling on the government to begin pursuing more long-term, sustainable solutions to the issue now to avoid the crisis recurring every winter.
We're calling for a national retrofit programme to limit the huge amounts of energy wasted through the inefficiency of this country’s draughty, cold homes. And we want the government to do more to help people improve the quality of their homes with a nationwide movement supported through a network of ‘Good Home Agencies’.
Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“While the costs to the public purse of the energy price guarantee are eye-watering, the human cost of failing to act on a scale matching the cost-of-living crisis will be much greater. One of the greatest failings of the COVID-19 pandemic response was placing too little value on the lives of older people, there can be no repeat of that failing this winter.
“Even with the energy price guarantee, many will still face a stressful and perilous winter and more targeted support maybe necessary. But without significant government intervention to control energy costs this winter, there is the very real prospect of tens of thousands of people, including many older people, dying in their cold homes.
“The energy price guarantee is a temporary sticking plaster that offers no permanent solution, simply delaying a future crisis for when the market intervention ends. In the breathing space that the government has created for itself, it's paramount that substantial action is taken to resolve one of the root-causes of the problem – this country’s cold, draughty and unsafe homes.
“Now is the time for action and the rollout of a national retrofit programme to make homes warmer, safer and more energy efficient as part of a broader move to improve people’s homes. This should be supported by a network of ‘Good Home Agencies’ across the country to provide advice, access to finance and practical support.”