UK Government responds to energy petition calling for new grant to help people with disabilities pay bills

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has responded to an online petition calling on the UK Government to provide additional financial support for people with a disability or serious medical condition to help them mitigate soaring energy costs.

The official response was triggered after the petition, created on the petitions-parliament website by Rachel Curtis, passed the 10,000 signature threshold in mid-April. It has now received almost 14,000 signatures of support from across the UK.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy stated that the UK Government understands that “some households with a disability or medical condition have higher than average energy costs”.

It highlighted how NHS England provides electricity refunds for users of certain medical equipment in the home, such as oxygen concentrators.

“If a patient is prescribed an oxygen concentrator as part of their home oxygen therapy, the provider will reimburse the patient for any electricity the machine uses at the standard rate for the electricity provider in that region,” the response said.

It added that “Clinical Commissioning Groups are best placed to support their local populace”.

But other than those few, short sentences directly addressing the contents of the petition, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy focused more on Ofgem’s price cap, which is determined by global wholesale gas prices, and the additional support measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in February.

It did also mention the British Energy Security Strategy, where the UK Government will “rebalance the costs placed on energy bills away from electricity to accelerate consumers and industry’s shift away from volatile global commodity markets over the decade”.

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Proposals on how to achieve this will be published later this year.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy response reads: “The [UK] Government is aware of the impact that high global wholesale energy prices are having on all consumers.

“Although Government does not determine the price of gas or electricity, these are set by global market conditions, the price cap ensures that the price of tariffs is fair and that customers do not experience a loyalty penalty.

“Government has also put in place additional support worth £9.1bn on top of existing measures to support vulnerable households.”

Energy support measures announced by UK Government

Households across the UK will receive a £200 levy on their energy costs this October.

This will be delivered via energy suppliers, who must spend on the entire £200 saving to households, and will be clearly identifiable as a line item on bills.

This will be repaid at £40 per year from April 2023.

There has been a £150 non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands AD in Scotland and England – in Scotland anyone receiving a Council Tax Reduction will also receive the £150.

The Warm Home Discount Scheme is current; and being reformed to include more vulnerable people and will provide over two million households with a £140 rebate off their energy bills (usually the electricity bill) each winter.

You can read the full response to the ‘Provide an energy grant to people with a disability or serious medical condition’ petition online, here.

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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