Are You Eligible For The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Fund?
The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) Alternative Fund was initially set up to provide £400 to those households that receive their energy supply indirectly, whether that’s through a site owner, a landlord or some other intermediary.
However, new research from charity Age UK suggests that the initiative hasn’t been as successful as initially hoped, failing to reach almost four out of five eligible households… meaning that over half a million properties have missed out, including more than 250,000 people living in care homes.
Figures show that there are an estimated 883,000 eligible households in the UK that have atypical energy supply arrangements, but only 17 per cent of these (approximately 150,000 households) were awarded the £400 this year.
As a result, the Treasury is set to receive £300 million in unspent funds, but Age UK is now calling on the government to overhaul the scheme and run it again so as to benefit those in need this winter as the cost of living crisis continues to take hold.
The charity is also keen for the money to be paid out automatically wherever possible, rather than people having to put in a claim to gain access to the support. Over the long term, Age Uk wants to see a social tariff introduced to ensure that vulnerable people always receive discounts on energy bills.
Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “The need for this extra funding certainly hasn’t gone away and that’s why we think the government should try again to get the money out to everyone in line for it, rather than giving it up as a bad job, to the benefit of Treasury coffers but at the expense of older people in need. It’s not too late for ministers to act and we very much hope they will.”
It’s likely that this winter will be as difficult as last year’s, which means that millions of households will struggle if no support is put in place now, with many older people facing serious hardship over the coming months.
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