Epilepsy Action, along with 70 other organisations, are urging the government to postpone the planned April energy price hikes and keep the current energy price guarantee (EPG).
The collaboration among organisations started when financial journalist and broadcaster Martin Lewis, who is also the founder of Money Saving Expert, sent a letter to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt asking him to postpone the 20% increase for the EPG.
The EPG is not targeted, meaning vulnerable people and people on low incomes are still likely to be more affected by the energy prices. However, its planned ending will have massive economic consequences on people around the country, especially the most vulnerable.
Seventy major charities have now signed up in support of Martin Lewis’ campaign.
On 27 February, Ofgem announced cuts for the amount energy suppliers can charge households, but bills are still expected to rise in April. Ofgem’s decision does not affect energy users directly, but it reduces the costs faced by government. This is because the government currently compensates energy suppliers with the difference between the EPG and the Ofgem’s cap.
This means vulnerable people and people on low income will still need support from the government, especially as April also marks the end of the £400 discount for energy bills for households in the UK.
Epilepsy Action has been calling on the government to address the impact that the cost-of-living crisis is having on people with epilepsy since last year.
Indeed, findings from the survey launched last year report that 55% of people with epilepsy are worried about being able to afford bills, while 67% are experiencing more stress due to the rising of costs.
Many families and individuals around the UK have been struggling to make ends meet since the beginning of the energy price increase. However, disabled people remain the most affected by it, as it only worsens the additional costs they already face, £583 a month on average.
Increasing energy prices put at risk thousands of families and vulnerable individuals who rely on social support, endangering not only their economic stability but their overall wellbeing: 2 in 5 people with epilepsy have reported experiencing more seizures as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
Moreover, people with epilepsy have one of the lowest employment rates for disabled people in the UK, as only 42% of working-age people with epilepsy are employed.
As well as postponing the increase on energy prices, Epilepsy Action’s cost-of-living campaign urges the government to:
- Create social tariffs for energy bills, to help vulnerable people facing high energy costs
- Speed up the process to level up benefits with inflation, which is currently scheduled for April
- Accelerate the application reviews for the Access to Work Scheme, which is forcing disabled people to wait months without proper support for their employment
For more information on the cost-of-living campaign, and how to support it, please visit the campaign webpage.