People in the Gypsy and Traveller community are missing out on the government’s energy bills support scheme despite some potentially paying up to £589 a month on gas bottles alone, a new report has found.
Some 97 per cent of families living on sites managed by local authorities in the south east of England had no access to mains gas, according to the report from charity Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT). Residents are forced instead to rely on expensive gas cylinders. On 82 per cent of the sites, residents were also on prepayment meters which are typically more expensive.
“This cannot and must not be allowed to continue,” said Abbie Kirkby, public affairs and policy manager at FFT. “Government and local authorities must urgently tackle the exclusion of many Romany and Traveller families from energy support schemes, as well as address the poor design and management of sites which lead to fuel poverty.”
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The report also found that 32 per cent of families living on local authority sites in the south east of England were not eligible for the government’s £400 energy bill support scheme as the local authority held the contract for the electricity supply. In its current form, the scheme excludes anyone who doesn’t have a direct contract with an electricity supplier or mains electricity access.
Gypsy and Traveller organisations already told the government in August that many households would miss out on the scheme for this very reason.