Think tank proposes redirecting pensioner energy subsidies

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The Social Market Foundation, a cross-party think tank, suggests fundamental changes in energy bill support, especially for pensioners.

They propose replacing universal energy subsidies with an expanded Warm Homes Discount (WHD) scheme to better target households in need.

The foundation highlights persistent challenges despite an expected energy price decrease, with around 6.5 million UK households in fuel poverty.

Criticisms of the current WHD and Winter Fuel Payments (WFP) systems include inadequate support and poor targeting.

The SMF recommends a tiered WHD to address these issues, potentially assisting 1.4 million more households, while suggesting a reduction in the WFP budget to fund this enhancement.

Sam Robinson, Senior Researcher at Social Market Foundation, said: “Although these days temperatures are going up and energy prices are coming down, we should be under no illusion that affording energy bills this winter is going to be easy for many households.

“Millions are already struggling with fuel poverty. It doesn’t have to be this way. With an expanded Warm Homes Discount, funded by lower spending on Winter Fuel Payments, we can achieve a more impactful and more cost-effective approach to energy bill support.”

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