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Looming Ofgem price cap increase spells catastrophe for struggling older customers

Published on 24 May 2022 03:39 PM

Age Scotland has responded to news that the UK’s energy price cap is set to rise to around £2,800 in October. The charity warns that, without sufficient preventative action, hundreds of thousands of older people will be at further risk of being pushed into poverty.

With the cost of energy and food already spiralling and 1 in 3 older households in Scotland already living in fuel poverty, and many more just on the cusp, the charity is urging governments to heed the warning from Ofgem’s Chief Executive and consider how those on the lowest incomes in particular can be protected.

Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Sloan said:

“This projected increase is jaw dropping and would be nothing short of catastrophic for older people. Not to mention the fact it is expected to hit at the worst possible time of year as we head into the colder, darker months.

“The past few months have already been extremely challenging, particularly for those on low and fixed incomes, with 94% of older people already worried about their energy bills back in March and many sacrificing all but the most essential purchases to keep their lights and heating on.

“Now, the bad news just keeps on coming and it looks like a very dark and difficult winter is looming.

“Today’s warning, coupled with news that the inflation rate on everyday shopping has hit its highest point in over a decade, should set alarm bells ringing for both the UK and Scottish Governments, and we would hope to see plans for preventative action taking shape as soon as possible in an attempt to mitigate the undoubtedly devastating impact this increase would have on older people. We can’t afford to wait for the worst affects to be felt.”

Hundreds of millions of pounds of social security goes unclaimed by older people in Scotland every year. It is important that older people maximise their incomes and claim every penny that they are entitled to. This could include Pension Credit for those on low state pensions, Council Tax Reduction, and Attendance Allowance. There are also linked benefits to help with energy costs if you are in receipt of some low-income social security.

Age Scotland can help people understand what they are missing out with a free eligibility check through their 0800 12 44 222 helpline. The charity also runs free energy advice workshops and provides information guides about staying warm and well. Find out more at www.age.scot/energy or call the free helpline on 0800 12 44 222.

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