Wirral MP urges people to check they have had the energy support they are entitled to
Margaret Greenwood, the MP for Wirral West, is urging people to check whether they have applied for support that they are entitled to under two separate government schemes designed to help with rising energy costs.
Recent figures from the government revealed that almost a quarter – 24% – of Energy Bills Support Scheme
vouchers designed to help the most vulnerable households with their gas and electricity bills have not been redeemed in Great Britain.
The vouchers, targeted at households that have a traditional prepayment meter, are worth £400 and are paid in six monthly instalments of £66.
Vouchers are sent as either redeemable vouchers, sent by text, email or post, or as an automatic credit when consumers top up at their usual top up point.
It is thought that many of the vouchers have been lost, delayed or unclaimed.
Recently released figures showed that, across the Liverpool City Region, in October and November 2022, 31.75% of vouchers were not redeemed, totalling a value of £6.6million.
In Wirral, over the same period, more than 32% of vouchers – worth a total of £1.17million – were not redeemed.
Even if vouchers have expired, people can ask for them to be reissued, but all vouchers must be redeemed by 30 June 2023.
Margaret Greenwood MP said:
“It is a matter of concern that, last October and November in Wirral, more than 30% of vouchers which are designed to help the most vulnerable households with their gas and electricity bills were not claimed. It may be that some have been lost, delayed or unclaimed.
“These vouchers were worth more than £1.1million which is an extraordinary sum of money.
“Many people are struggling with bills at the moment, and this support is vital.
“I would urge people who have elderly or vulnerable family members or friends to check and make sure that they have received the vouchers that they are entitled to and have redeemed them.
“People who struggle to read and write might also find it difficult to redeem vouchers, so I would call on family members and friends to help them out too.
“If people do not think that they have received their vouchers, I would urge them to contact their energy supplier.
“If people require support, they can contact an organisation like Citizens Advice who will be able to help. Of course, people who live in Wirral West can also contact my office for help with this.”
Warm Homes Discount Scheme
Margaret Greenwood MP has also questioned the government over its Warm Homes Discount Scheme
which aims to help some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society by giving them a £150 discount on their electricity bills.
This is the first winter of the new eligibility criteria for the scheme, and concerns have been raised that many people who were previously eligible for support are no longer eligible because of the changes.
The Wirral West MP is keen to understand the impact that that is having on her constituents, and she has asked the government for figures on the number of people in Wirral West who are eligible for the scheme both this year and last year.
She has also asked whether the government will extend the deadline to apply for the scheme beyond the current 28 February deadline.
Margaret Greenwood MP said:
“It is also a matter of real concern that many people who were eligible for last year’s Warm Homes Discount Scheme are not eligible this year due to changes that the government has brought in.
“I am taking steps to find out how many people in Wirral West are affected by this, and I have asked whether the government will extend the deadline to apply for the scheme beyond 28 February.
“It is vital that people get the support they need with their energy bills, and every effort must be made by the government to ensure that everyone who is eligible takes up the support on offer.”
Citizens Advice Wirral can be contacted by telephone on 0808 278 7848 or you can visit their website for further assistance: www.citizensadvicewirral.org.uk