‘Future looks bleak!’ Millions of older Britons unable to claim £150 council tax rebate

How can you try to keep energy bills down?

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Analysis conducted by Age UK found that one in five households with pensioners, who are either living in poverty or claiming benefits, will be unable to receive the discount. The council tax rebate was introduced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to address the cost of living crisis, which is being exacerbated by the increase in energy bills. Following the rise in the energy price cap at the beginning of this month, energy bills are expected to go up by £693 a year.

Further hikes to energy bills are expected to take place in October, putting further pressure on households.

Households in council tax bands A to D are eligible for the rebate, however those in bands E to H will be unable to apply.

Age UK estimates that 4.3million households in England will not be eligible for the council tax rebate.

Of this wider group, 2.1million households include at least one person who is over the age of 60.

One woman named Norma shared her concerns with Age UK about the rise in energy bills and the “bleak” future she believes lies ahead of her.

The 81-year-old said: “The uncertainty regarding the energy bills along with increases in food and clothing is stressful and the future is looking bleak.

“I never imagined that this country would leave me, at 81 and disabled, feeling helpless and insecure.”

Rachel, who is a carer for her husband, added: “My husband has advanced Alzheimer’s, is totally bed bound, doubly incontinent and my daughter and I care for him completely at home.

“He has to be washed and changed at least three times a day and consequently my washing machine and dryer are permanently in use.

“We have to keep the heating on most of the time as his temperature quickly drops if the house gets cold. Our fuel bills are currently £270 per month.

“These latest increases will make an enormous difference to our expenses but we have no choice because of my husband’s health.”

On her situation, Margaret, who is currently in receipt of Pension Credit, explained: “I am 72 and on a low income.

“The rises will affect me personally because I am on Pension Credit and already ration my energy use so that I can afford the bills. I feel very anxious about it.”

Age UK is urging the Government to do more to support older households, especially after the Government’s decision to temporarily suspend its triple lock pledge on state pensions.

Pensioners across the country would have seen an eight percent increase to their state-funded retirement pots if the triple lock had remained in place, which would have assisted them during the pandemic.

Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, said: “The Chancellor paused the triple lock guarantee to the state pension this year on the basis that the increase in average earnings at the time was a temporary blip due to the pandemic.

“Since then, prices have soared so next month’s planned 3.1 percent increase is only a drop in the ocean compared to the sharp rises in energy and other costs confronting us all.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, which is why we’re providing support worth £21billion this financial year and next to help.

“This includes putting an average of £1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families via changes to Universal Credit, freezing fuel duties to keep costs down and helping households with their energy bills through our £9.1billion Energy Bills Rebate.

“We want pensioners to receive all the support to which they are entitled. Our Winter Fuel Payments are supporting over 11 million pensioners with their energy bills and we are continuing to encourage those eligible for Pension Credit, and the wide range of other benefits it can provide, to make a claim.”

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