Age Scotland calls for more energy support for older people
Age Scotland has called on the UK government to extend its energy support scheme in order to protect older people who are going to be faced with significantly higher bills in April.
Responding to the announcement that the amount suppliers can charge households for energy has been cut by the regulator Ofgem, Scotland’s national charity for older people said that ministers should step in to protect vulnerable customers struggling with rising energy costs. The current government support scheme is due to end in March.
Mark O’Donnell, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “Today’s announcement by Ofgem unfortunately does very little to help older people across Scotland who will still face significantly higher energy bills in April. This winter has seen older people on low and modest incomes struggle as never before with rising energy bills and a cost of living crisis which shows no sign of abating.
“Last month we learned of older people being admitted to hospital with hypothermia as they attempted to keep energy bills down. This is the stark reality of how spiralling energy costs have affected some of our most vulnerable older people.
“We would therefore urge the Government to extend its energy support beyond April - a month that in Scotland can be as bitterly cold as any time in winter. Older people in Scotland are not suddenly switching off their heating in April. It remains an essential source of warmth especially for those living with long term health conditions. We know only too well the dangers of older people being forced to live in a cold home.”
He concluded: “For those who have scrimped and saved this winter to pay their energy bills with government support, being faced with higher bills and no support in a matter of weeks could push them to breaking point. It is vital that older people in need get help and the Government must act to help them now.”