Social Justice

Energy bills could hit £3,000 a year after Ukraine invasion, government warned

Analysts fear the Ukraine invasion could push average energy costs up to £3,000 per year - leaving 8.5 million UK households in fuel poverty.

Person turning knob on radiator.

8.5 million households could be facing fuel poverty. Image: Pixabay

One in three households in Britain could be left facing fuel poverty if the Ukraine invasion pushes the average energy bill to £3,000 a year, charities have warned today. 

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition, (EFPC) representing almost 50 charities, has said that the rise could lead to higher deaths among elder people without further action from the government. 

Age UK Director Caroline Abrahams said the support the government has announced is “nowhere near enough”, with older people’s budgets “pushed to breaking point” already.

Following the end to the energy price cap in April, the average UK energy bill is set to soar to £2,000 per year, pushing around 6.5 million people into fuel poverty.

Analysts fear that this could rise even higher as gas prices spike because Russia invaded Ukraine, with the average bill potentially reaching £3,000 per year.

On Monday (March 1) Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly told the cabinet that the public would have to endure even higher energy prices as a result of sanctions on Russia. 

The EFPC says a rise to £3,000 per year would leave one in three – 8.5 million – UK households in fuel poverty.

The group is now calling on the government to rethink its “heat now, pay later” rebate scheme and slash bills for the most vulnerable households, warning that rising prices could lead to unnecessary deaths among the old and vulnerable next winter.

Criticism has been levelled at the government for its “energy bills rebate” scheme which offers a loan of £200 to households which will be paid back in instalments on bills from 2023. 

Debt campaigners have warned the loan will only push people into further financial difficulties, worsening debt issues. 

Adam Scorer, chief executive of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) said: “Analysts suggest the war in Ukraine could drive average bills to £3,000 per year. This could leave 8.5 million UK households in fuel poverty, denied a warm safe home. 

“This is a disaster and inevitably, will lead to more needless winter deaths. Government must address the scale of the problem and use the upcoming Economic Statement in March to cut energy bills much further for the poorest.”

Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams said: “Energy price rises have pushed older people’s budgets to breaking point, with many going without heating for weeks over the winter. 

“The support the government have announced is nowhere near enough. How are those on the lowest incomes, who already struggle to afford the essentials, going to find an extra £350 to cover their energy bills, on top of all the other increases in the cost of living?

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants
Department for Work and Pensions

DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants

Is the cost of living crisis over and will prices in the UK ever come down?
Cost of living crisis

Is the cost of living crisis over and will prices in the UK ever come down?

Low pay as a trainee bus driver left me desperate. I skipped meals and ended up £46k in debt
james rossi, who faced debt
Cost of living

Low pay as a trainee bus driver left me desperate. I skipped meals and ended up £46k in debt

DWP ramps up AI use to 'bring the future to the welfare system' and push people into work
disability benefits
Department for Work and Pensions

DWP ramps up AI use to 'bring the future to the welfare system' and push people into work

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know