A senior Member of Parliament (MP) has described a scheme aimed at assisting individuals who missed out on last winter’s £400 energy bill subsidy as a “remarkable failure.” The Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding was established to provide support to households without an energy supplier, such as those living in park homes. While nearly a million households were eligible to apply, only a small fraction received financial assistance.
MP Angus MacNeil expressed his view that the government should reopen the scheme, highlighting that it had neglected the most vulnerable individuals. The government stated that it had allocated over £50 million to support 130,000 households without a domestic energy supplier.
Last year, all households in the UK were eligible for a £400 subsidy to help with fuel bills due to a significant increase in energy prices. For those who paid their bills through direct debit, the support was automatically provided through monthly payments from October to March. However, individuals living off-grid, such as those on narrow boats or in park homes, as well as tenants, travellers, and those on heat networks, did not receive the support automatically as they lacked an energy provider.
The “Alternative Funding Scheme” was introduced by the government to cater to over 900,000 households falling into these categories. It also extended to individuals residing in care homes who were charged for energy costs in their bills. However, only 141,000 bill payers managed to apply for and receive the subsidy before the scheme concluded on May 31st. As a result, there are still 750,000 eligible households that have missed out on the £400 support payment.
Criticism of the scheme has emerged, with some applicants finding it overly complex or inadequate in recognising their circumstances. Others reported repeated rejections of their applications despite meeting the eligibility criteria. In response, a government spokesperson highlighted the billions of pounds allocated to protect families during the winter, when prices rose, and the significant decrease in wholesale energy prices since their peak.