Let me be clear, no-one should be struggling to afford to keep their home at a reasonable temperature in a modern society, and although we have seen progress toward this goal, there is still so much my colleagues and I can do to make this a reality.
Elderly people are some of the most at-risk individuals when it comes to fuel poverty. Winter Fuel Payments are the largest benefit paid to pensioners, and will continue to be available to all pensioners. In addition to Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments are available and the Warm Home Discount provides over one million vulnerable pensioners with a £140 rebate on their energy bills.
The Warm Home Discount is a key policy in the Government’s programme to tackle fuel poverty and the effects of rising energy prices on low-income households. Launched in April 2011, it has helped over 2.2 million low-income and vulnerable households, including individuals with a disability, each year with their energy costs. I am pleased that the Energy White Paper committed to extending the scheme to at least 2025/26 and the Government is committed to expanding the spending envelope from the current £351 million to £475 million (in 2020 prices) per year, to reach over 750,000 more households in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. Furthermore, later this year the Government will consult on reforms to the scheme from 2022 to better target fuel poverty.