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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.

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. 

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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.

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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.”

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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?

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