If your organisation wants to add its name to the ones who have already signed up to our call for a social tariff please fill out this form.

If you, personally, want to support our calls for a social tariff please email your MP using our template letter.

NEA logo

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
10 Downing Street

CC: the Rt Hon Claire Coutinho MP

29 September 2023

Dear Prime Minister

We are writing as a group of consumer organisations and charities to ask for urgent action to introduce a social tariff for energy – something that is desperately needed by millions of struggling households in the UK.

With winter fast approaching, short-term, targeted support is needed to protect the most vulnerable households in and on the edge of fuel poverty. These are people whose bills have become so unaffordable that they are having to make the desperate choice nobody should have to make – between heating and eating. But, as your government has itself acknowledged, we also need to work towards a longer term solution. We are therefore calling on the government to publish the crucial consultation it committed to a year ago on future protection for energy consumers.

Last year’s Autumn Statement promised to “develop a new approach to consumer protection in energy markets, which will apply from April 2024 onwards,” and said that the government “will work with consumer groups and industry to consider the best approach, including options such as social tariffs…” In April, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero reiterated that commitment, setting out an intention to consult in summer 2023 on the same. Despite these assertions, we are yet to see this consultation materialise.

The energy crisis is not over, and while the wholesale price of gas is falling, energy bills remain sky-high. Today, some 6.6 million households find themselves in fuel poverty after a winter that pushed many into making painful choices and created record amounts of debt. Currently £2.25bn is owed by UK households who are behind on their energy bills, up more than 70% over the past three years.

In the absence of the Energy Bills Support Scheme this winter, households will be facing bills 13% higher than the last, and energy costs are still substantially higher than they were before the crisis started. Forecasts show no sign of relief either – we can expect millions of people in low-income and vulnerable households to suffer many more years living in a cold home, rationing energy, and struggling to cook a hot meal. As families fall behind on bills, they will be faced with the double whammy of facing high costs and trying to drag their way out of energy debt.

This is a long-term problem that requires a sustainable safety net for these people. Anything else will be a costly sticking-plaster. There’s now a significant risk that no new protections will be in place by the time they are desperately needed.

One of the most effective ways the government can address this enduring challenge is through the introduction of comprehensive targeted energy support, sometimes referred to as a social tariff. This would provide a deeper price protection for all households struggling with their energy bills.

This support would have numerous additional benefits for the country and would help meet your five key pledges. A social tariff would help to reduce inflation by bringing down the cost of energy bills. The money saved by households would likely find its way into local economic growth. It would also help slash waiting lists by reducing cold-related illnesses brought on by living in an underheated home.

We now collectively ask you to bring forward the consultation the government promised a year ago and help prevent millions more falling into fuel poverty in this country.

Yours sincerely,

National Energy Action, Age UK, Citizens Advice, Energy Action Scotland, Fair By Design, MoneySavingExpert, and Scope

This letter is supported by the following organisations:

ACE (Action in Caerau and Ely)
ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England)
Act on Energy
Action Renewables
Advice For Renters
Age NI
Angus MacNeil MP (chair, Energy Security and Net Zero Committee)
Asthma+Lung UK
Awel Amen Tawe
Belfast City Council
Believe Housing
Ben Lake MP (chair, Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency All-Party Parliamentary Group)
Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative
Bro Myrddin Housing Association
Bromley by Bow Centre
Bryson Energy
Building Communities Trust
Cardiff Quakers
Care & Repair Cymru
Centre for Sustainable Energy
Centre for Sustainable Technologies
Chartered Institute of Housing
Christians Against Poverty
Citizens Advice Canterbury
Citizens Advice Gwynedd / Cyngor ar Bopeth Gwynedd
Citizens Advice Rhondda Cynon Taf / Cyngor ar Bopeth Rhondda Cynon Taf
Citizens Advice Scotland
Citizens Advice South Lincolnshire
Citizens Advice Swansea Neath Port Talbot / Cyngor ar Bopeth Abertawe Castell-nedd Port Talbot
City of Doncaster Council
Clean Slate
Climate and Community
Climate Cymru
Climate Shop
Clynfyw Care Farm
Coastline Housing
Community Housing Cymru
Community Law Service
Connecting Communities in Berkshire
Croydon Community Energy
Cumbria Action for Sustainability
Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig
Debt Justice
Dolmens Climate Action Network
EastSide Partnership
Egni Cooperative
End Fuel Poverty Coalition
Exeter Community Energy
Faith in Families
Family Fund
Ffynnone Community Resilience
Fife Council
Independent Food Aid Network
Glen Housing Association
Grampian Housing Association
Green Squirrel
Greenans Products
Greener Futures
Harvey Girls
Hillcrest Homes
Hjaltland Housing Association
Home-Start Down District
Independent Age
International Longevity Centre
Jigsaw Homes
Leeds City Council
Leonard Cheshire
Lochaber Housing Association Limited
Macmillan Cancer Support
Marie Curie
Melin Homes
Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association
Mid Devon District Council
Money Advice Scotland
Money Matters Money Advice Centre
Motor Neurone Disease Association
Muirneag Consulting
National Debtline
National Federation of ALMOs
Newport City Homes
Newydd Housing Association
North Belfast Senior Citizens Forum
North Somerset Council
North Yorkshire Citizens Advice and Law Centre
Northamptonshire Partnership Homes
Northern Housing Consortium
NUS-USI (National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland)
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales
Paragon Housing Association
Parkinson’s UK
Personal Finance Research Centre
Pontypridd Land Society
Power Circle
Public Voice
Queens Cross Housing Association
Race Equality First
Rethink Mental Illness
Royal National Institute for Deaf People
Royal National Institute of Blind People
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Single Parents Support and Advice Service
South Seeds
St Andrews Environmental Network
St Giles Trust
Stepchange Debt Charity
Stirling District Citizens’ Advice Bureau Ltd
Stop Climate Chaos Cymru
Sustainable Wales
Tai Pawb
THAW Orkney
The Action Group
The Archbishop of Wales
The Bevan Foundation
The Coproduction Network for Wales
The Cottage Family Centre
The H&A Group
The Mentor Ring
The One Planet Centre
The Welcome Centre
Thirteen Ltd
Thomas Pocklington Trust
Tir Natur
Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru / Together Creating Communities
Trowbridge Pantry
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Wakefield and District Housing
West Suffolk Council