Charity calls for immediate action to protect struggling families in Wales from soaring energy prices
Citizens Advice Cymru is calling on the UK Government to to take immediate action to help struggling households, including uprating benefits in line with the cost of living.
The charity has warned that low income families with children are amongst those who will bear the brunt of soaring energy prices and the cost of living.
Their latest intervention comes ahead of this week’s expected confirmation of a new energy price ‘cap’ from October- currently predicted to rise by 82% from £1,971 to £3,582.
According to Citizens Advice Cymru research undertaken earlier this summer, fifty three per cent (53%) of people in Wales already anticipate they will need to cut back on energy over the next 6 months.
Their recent polling shows those fears are heightened within some groups who were more likely to say they will need to make emergency cuts to household energy spending, including:
- Sixty six per cent (66%) of people with children aged 18 and under in household
- Fifty eight per cent (58%) of low income families
- Sixty one per cent (61%) of those who identify as disabled or with a long term health condition – compared to fifty per cent (50%) without disability/LTHC
- Sixty six per cent (66%) of renters in the social and private rented Sector – compared to forty seven per cent (47%) of owner occupiers
- Seventy four per cent (74%) of people who are currently behind on any bills
Luke Young, Assistant Director of Citizens Advice Cymru said: “We’ve sounded alarms about the wave of energy debt heading toward us this October, and we hope that decision makers are finally listening.
“People in Wales, and across the UK, are already struggling to make ends meet. Our research shows the additional squeeze being put on families with children, disabled people, and renters. While the cost of living crisis is affecting a broad range of households, it is those on lower incomes who will be hit the hardest.
“Rising levels of poverty and debt will have a longstanding impact on people’s lives. If a child goes cold or hungry this winter, they will never be able to forget it.”
Earlier this month, consumer champion Martin Lewis condemned the UK Government for acting like “zombies” over the energy crisis.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain the country is facing a “national crisis on the scale of the pandemic”.
“For every £100 direct debit you currently pay, in October you will be paying £181, and in January you will be paying £215, and that’s on top of the rises we had in April,” he said.
“That is a cataclysmic rise for households; millions of households will simply not be able to afford it.
“When we get to January, a typical bill will be £4,266 a year, many pensioner households pay more than that because they have the heating on more for understandable reasons.
“That is 45% of the full new state pension and a bigger proportion of the old state pension. We’re not talking mortgages. We’re not talking rent. We’re talking energy bills. This is absolutely catastrophic.
“And for a Government to sit there like zombies saying ‘We can’t do anything’, when you run an organisation, which I have done and many other people have done, when you know there is a crisis of magnificent proportions coming, you do not say ‘We’ll wait until we’ve got the change in our leadership’ – you start dealing with it now.”
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