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MPs and peers call on consumers for new ideas to battle rip-off energy bills

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on poverty is calling on low-income consumers, the voluntary sector, researchers and business leaders to submit ideas by March 30

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on poverty is asking consumers, the voluntary sector, researchers and business leaders to submit recommendations to help policymakers slash the amount paid by the poorest in society. Currently, the average annual poverty premium is £490, according to University of Bristol research.

The move is part of the Group’s inquiry into the poverty premium. The submission form for ideas can be found here.

The list of factors stacked against the low-income households is numerous. Pre-payment energy meters, for example, are social housing mainstays and are often more expensive than paying by a monthly direct debit, an anomaly that is currently being tackled by regulator Ofgem. A lack of tariff options and the inability to switch to a cheaper deal also bite into the coffers.

The APPG, which includes Big Issue founder John Bird – whose private member’s bill is aiming to make credit more affordable for Britain’s renters – is calling for all submissions to be made by March 30.

Kevin Hollinrake MP and Neil Gray MP, who co-chair the group, said: “Poverty cannot be tackled simply by being in work. Often people who have lower earnings are at a disadvantage due to the ‘poverty premium’, whereby low-income households pay more for goods and services.

They are urging energy companies and business leaders, to use their corporate social responsibilities to help out low-income customers, suggesting deals can be tailored for poorer households.

“We encourage low-income consumers, the voluntary sector, researchers, investors and business to take part in this inquiry before 30 March. The more we know, the more effective and comprehensive our recommendations will be.”

The Big Issue is already coming to the aid of Brits suffering under the weight of crippling energy bills by teaming up with Big Clean Switch last year.  The campaign allows people to switch to renewable energy and save up to £250.

And our social investment arm, Big Issue Invest, is also tackling the poverty premium in credit with a £1m loan to ethical lender Fair For You.

National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
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