A group of organisations, including Money Advice Trust, Scope and Fair By Design, has written to Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, calling for the Government to set up a dedicated ‘Help to Repay’ scheme to support people struggling to repay energy arrears.
As part of the repay scheme proposal, people would be able to access either repayment matching (to help them to get out of debt sooner) or full debt relief, depending on their level of need. Repayment matching would work, for example, by matching each pound repaid with an equivalent amount of debt relief or providing debt relief on the remaining arrears after a certain period of ongoing payments.
The letter comes after findings from Money Advice Trust show the number of UK adults behind on their energy bills has increased by an estimated 2.1 million since March 2022 to 5.5 million today. We know that many of these adults have been paying a poverty premium to access energy through prepayment meters and payment on receipt of bill already.
You can read the full letter here.
A full ‘Help to Repay’ proposal document can be found here.
Our research finds an estimated 3.2 million UK adults have been asked to repay energy arrears they couldn’t afford – we’ve joined 13 other organisations in calling for a Govt ‘Help To Repay’ scheme for a safe route out of debt for struggling households
— Money Advice Trust (@Money_Advice) June 14, 2023