Ros Atkins on why energy bills are rising
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Some residents in Wales are entitled to apply for the country’s Winter Fuel Support scheme to help for rising energy bills. Recently, the regulator Ofgem confirmed that the average bill could reach almost £2,000 due to external pressures in the wholesale energy market. In light of this, the UK Government has announced a series of new support measures to address this but devolved Governments across the UK are also offering a helping hand.
As households prepare for their energy bills to go up by £693 annually, the Welsh Government has confirmed the Winter Fuel Support scheme has been doubled to assist those most in need.
Unlike other benefits which are administered via the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), this payment is delivered through the Welsh Government.
The Winter Fuel Support payment is usually £100 but it has been confirmed the amount has been doubled as a one-off means of financial aid.
The benefit is a wider support package worth millions pounds which aims to tackle fuel poverty in Wales.
Specifically, the benefit payment’s goal is to reduce the impact of the cut to Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit and the rising cost of energy.
Any households where one member is in receipt of certain qualifying social security benefits are eligible to apply.
However, the person must have been claiming these payments at any time between December 1, 2021 and January 31, 2022.
New applicants and those who are applying retrospectively are eligible for the Winter Fuel Support scheme.
The qualifying benefits include:
- Income Support
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits.
The person receiving the £200 financial boost must also be responsible for paying the household energy bills.
Earlier this week, Jane Hutt, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice, outlined why the benefit payment is essential in light of recent events.
Ms Hutt said: “We initially made a £100 Winter Fuel Support Scheme payment available in December, when we launched our £51million Household Support Fund.
“This payment is now being extended to support eligible households with rising energy bills.
“Right across Wales, people are seeing their bills rise and wages are being stretched like never before. Some people are facing the incredibly difficult decision about whether they heat or eat.
“The £51million Household Support Fund has targeted support towards families across Wales. We know these initiatives are working and making a real difference to the lives of low income households.
“That’s why we’re extending this support by doubling the Winter Fuel Support Scheme payment.
“We’re increasing the £100 payment to £200 and this will be available to new applicants and retrospectively paid to those who have applied already.”
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