Citizens Advice warns of perfect storm of energy bill rises and Universal Credit cut

by | 19 October 2021 | Citizens Advice, Retford

New analysis from Citizens Advice shows how rising energy bills will coincide with Universal Credit cuts this autumn, creating a perfect storm for families. The charity’s research is released as Ofgem announces £139 rise in default tariffs and £153 increase for prepayment meter customers.
The rise, which takes effect in October, will hit family budgets just at the same time as the Government’s planned cut of £20.00 a week to Universal Credit, which is set to affect six million households. It will also coincide with the end of the furlough scheme, which the charity warns could lead to further job losses and more families being pushed onto benefits.
James Plunkett, Executive Director at Citizens Advice, said: “This price hike could lead to a perfect storm for families this autumn, hitting people at the same time as a Universal Credit cut and the end of furlough. It’s particularly worrying given families on Universal Credit are far more likely to already be in energy debt.
“With bills rising and incomes falling, many families will find it hard to escape. For many, debt will be the inevitable consequence.
“It all adds to the growing case to rethink the government’s planned cut to Universal Credit and keep this lifeline which has been vital to keeping so many afloat.”
The charity estimates that millions are already behind on bills before benefit cuts and price rises kick in. The new analysis shows how the changes will combine to hit families, with soaring numbers of people already behind on their energy bills and millions more reliant on Universal Credit to stay afloat.
The analysis comes as Citizens Advice also reveals that fuel debt was the most common debt problem in the 2021.
Bassetlaw Citizens Advice has warned that for many families on a low income this will literally result in facing the choice between heating and eating.
The Energy Team can check if they could make savings and are there to help you be energy smart. Their qualified team of energy advisors can help with:
• Checking for cheaper tariffs and assist you with switching suppliers
• Offer support managing energy debt.
• Checking eligibility and supporting you to access schemes such as Warm Home Discount and Priority Services Register.
• Attempt to resolve complaints and problems with energy providers.
• Applying for grants/funding towards energy improvements in the home.
• Any other energy related issues/queries
If you require a free energy advice appointment, you can contact the Energy team on 01909 498892 or by emailing them on energy@bassetlawca.org.uk.
For all general enquiries, call 01909 498894 or email advice@bassetlawca.org.uk.