More than 60 charities have written to the Prime Minister demanding more support for millions of UK households in fuel poverty.
A survey for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition suggests 76% of people think the Government is not doing enough to support vulnerable households this winter.
Despite the Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bills Support Scheme pledged by the Government, 58% of the population still believe they will struggle to pay their bills this winter, the poll indicates.
Some 83% are “very” or “quite” worried about their bills increasing again in April when the current Government support programmes run out.
The signatories to the letter, coordinated by the Warm This Winter campaign, are calling for the upweighting of benefits and urgent clarification of energy bills support available from April, a “massive” programme of energy efficiency measures and the speeding up of moves to cheaper renewable energy.
Joe Cole, chief executive of Advice for Renters, said: “One of our clients who suffers from PTSD was pushed close to suicide when he couldn’t top up his pre-payment meter.”
Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “Renters are being hit particularly hard by the cost-of-living crisis. Social landlords are doing what they can to support residents but too often they are still unable to afford to heat their homes.
“We urgently need the government to commit to uprating benefits with inflation and guaranteeing energy bills support beyond April, alongside a national insulation programme to reduce unaffordable bills in both the short and long term.”
Sarah Woolnough, chief executive of Asthma and Lung UK, said: “Untenable cost of living hikes are forcing people with lung conditions to make impossible choices about their health, with people already reporting a sharp decline in their lung health.
“Lives are at risk if the government doesn’t step in to help people with lung conditions, to provide more support for people on low incomes so they can afford to keep their homes warm this winter.”
Rachel Kirby-Rider, chief executive of Young Lives vs Cancer, said: “Young Lives vs Cancer have been calling on the government for years to tackle the huge costs experienced by children and young people with cancer and their families. They are disproportionately affected by the cost-of-living crisis and were already experiencing unmanageable costs before bills started to rise.
“When you care for a child or young person with cancer, you don’t have a choice whether to keep the heating on to keep them well. We urgently need an energy and cost of living plan that protects the poorest and most vulnerable – including children and young people with cancer.”
Omnisis surveyed 1,382 people on October 21.