In August 2023, more than 30 of the UK’s largest Housing Associations have called on ministers by composing a letter to Lord Callanan and Amanda Solloway MP at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
This is to request for a second chance for the 750,000 households they look after who missed out on the £400 government support scheme for energy bills. This is a total value loss of £300 million. 34 Housing Associations came together to compose the letter to ministers, to re-open the government scheme which offered support payments to over one million households without an energy supplier.
Whereas most homes received an automatic payment on a monthly basis, some households who don’t pay a direct energy supplier, such as, narrowboats, park homes and care homes, didn’t receive anything.
The Housing Associations involved, which total up to 1.5 million properties, saw only 16% of eligible households making claims before the deadline of May 31st. The housing groups are calling for a new deadline of December 31st to be set out for tenants.
Some of the UK’s largest Associations are involved. The likes of Riverside, Clarion, L&Q and Peabody, have all signed. They see the struggles daily from the nature of their work, with Riverside reporting over two-thirds of their tenants struggling to pay bills, and one-third relying on the £400 government scheme to cope with rising energy costs.
The scheme, which closed on May 31st 2023, was offered to all households across the UK, it was aimed at the most vulnerable of society. It also included a £900 payment for those on means-tested benefits, an extra £300 for pensioners and £150 for people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, around 1.7 million households are expected to miss out as they didn’t register for the benefits. In the letter, it also called for ministers to ensure that customers who use a heat network to heat their home are eligible to the Warm Home Discount. A one-off £150 discount on winter energy bills. This should be received for households that receive pension benefits and have a low income or high energy costs.
The letter urged the government to work with the industry regulator, Ofgem, and energy suppliers to “protect hundreds of thousands of people this winter by extending support to those who need it most”.
A government spokesperson said the outlook for energy prices had improved significantly since the autumn statement, “which is good news for households, who have seen their energy bills come down”.