Older people in the UK are being left vulnerable amid high energy prices, with experts predicting that energy bills could rise by up to 50% in the spring, the leading UK charity for older people, Age UK, warned on Thursday.
The 50% rise would bring average annual bills up by an additional £600.
Around 80% of pensioners, corresponding to around 930,000, say they could not afford an unexpected bill of £200, the latest government figures show.
In light of these figures, the charity calls for immediate action to protect older people with the least ability to pay their bills.
'Rising inflation is already eating into the pensions of swathes of older people,' the charity said in a letter written to the Secretaries of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and for Work and Pensions.
The charity is warning that 'the unprecedented hike in wholesale energy prices will be totally unmanageable for those living on low fixed incomes, many of whom have few, if any, savings to fall back on.'
'Financial support for older people during the colder months has remained broadly unchanged for years and is nowhere near enough to match the scale of the current problem,' Age UK underlines.
It argues that mechanisms exist to fund vital support to see older people through this crisis.
Two suggestions for such mechanisms include; cutting the 5% rate of VAT from all household's energy bills from April until at least the end of 2022 and providing additional support in payments of up to £500 to older people on the lowest incomes.
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By Zeynep Beyza Kilic