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Plaid Cymru calls for energy social tariff to protect families from fuel poverty

02 Nov 2023 4 minute read
Ben Lake MP. Photo UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Plaid Cymru is urging the UK Government to include the introduction of an Energy Social Tariff in the King’s Speech on 7 November, as millions face fuel poverty this winter.

The party’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, said that the current system of only giving help to those on means-tested benefits “misses thousands of people living in fuel poverty.”

The proposed social tariff aims to address the issue of soaring energy prices and the growing number of households struggling to pay their energy bills.

Currently, energy prices are around £700 higher than in October 2021, when the crisis began, and are expected to remain at elevated levels in the long term.

Meanwhile, record numbers of people are seeking energy debt support in Wales.

Plaid Cymru says that a social tariff could offer protection to struggling customers by lowering unit rates, standing charges, or providing bill rebates, calculated by using a formula that accounts for their energy consumption and household income.

Other countries such as Belgium already have energy social tariffs which offer lower prices for households struggling with energy bills.


Mr Lake also suggests that a social tariff could help to reduce inflation by bringing down the cost of energy bills, with the money saved being likely find its way into local economies.

Mr Lake said: “As winter starts to bite, the UK Government needs to be innovative in finding ways of protecting the most vulnerable from the harsh burden of unaffordable energy costs. The King’s Speech must include a fairer system for targeted energy bill support in the form of a social tariff.

“In a time when rising energy costs are worsened by the impact of high inflation, many households find their disposable income having dwindled. Even if energy prices see a temporary dip, many households still grapple with significant energy debts.

“The current system of energy bills support, doesn’t match the scale of the problem. Government support which only focuses on those receiving means tested benefits does not cover all of the 6.3 million UK households who are in fuel poverty, which has increased from 4.5 million over the past two years.

“An energy social tariff, on the other hand, would offer price protection to all households facing energy bill difficulties. By lowering unit rates, standing charges, or providing bill rebates, a social tariff could offer long-term security and much-needed relief to those facing bills which are over 50% higher than pre-crisis levels.

“The Government has long promised a consultation on a social tariff. Plaid Cymru urges the Prime Minister to include proposals for a social tariff in the King’s Speech, so that people can have some confidence that they can stay warm this winter.”

Hayley Macnamara, Community Housing Cymru’s policy and external affairs manager overseeing cost of living, said: “This winter will be worse for many people – but particularly for those living in housing association homes who continue to be among the hardest hit by the cost of living crisis.

“With energy bills now almost double pre-cost of living crisis levels, it is crucial that a social energy tariff is introduced to ensure people on lower incomes, including many housing association tenants, can heat their homes without the fear of rising debt.

“We stand alongside a coalition of charities, including NEA Cymru, in urging the UK Government to support people struggling with energy-related debts.

“Housing associations and their partners are doing all they can to help people at this challenging time. We would encourage anyone living in a housing association home in Wales to get in touch with their landlord if they are concerned about financial difficulties.”

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5 months ago

Tories and Labour fake socialists take note. Study how Ben Lake works for his constituents and the wider communities. Willing to investigate and present interesting practical responses to the problems of our time.

Sue jones davies
Sue jones davies
5 months ago

Ben is an MP to be proud of and I feel lucky to have him represent me.But why is he in such a minority? What have we done as a society to have a majority of MPs without principles and integrity.

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
5 months ago

the Money god – some folk have done very well, and pulled up the drawbridge, but its always at the expense of those who get left behind. As my Dad used to say – if you don’t share out the cake it won’t go round – simple as that.

Douglas Harding
Douglas Harding
5 months ago

Everybody wastes energy, from CEOs and Operations Managers of manufacturing companies to individuals in small flats. Energy companies depend on this wastage and make £millions out of it, and all too often the loudest to complain and demand government assistance are the ones who are wasting the most energy. Look to other countries in mainland Europe and see how individuals are coping with much bigger rises in energy costs than ours. How do they cope? Simples. By changing their lifestyles to conserve energy, not waste it.

5 months ago

I do not want to see energy restricted. Producing plentiful levels of energy through multiple technologies must be part of government strategic planning. Wales (the UK) has been far to reliant on the markets to guide energy policy. Without cheap energy people suffer, not just through being cold in the winter, they also have more mental stresses, businesses become untenable and the economic security of the country is put at risk. Yes, decent housing, built using the latest in innovative materials preserves energy. Yes, electric vehicles bring down cost on individuals and businesses and yes, certain forms of energy generation… Read more »

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