Clarion Housing Group responds to the Spring Budget 2023
Today (15 March), the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered the Spring Budget for 2023 which focused on tackling inflation, reducing the national debt and stimulating growth. He also outlined steps the government are taking to tackle cost of living pressures, including extending the Energy Price Guarantee, addressing inequality in prepayment meter charges and freezing fuel duty.
Responding to the announcement, Clare Miller, Clarion Housing Group Chief Executive, said:
“We welcome some of the action taken today by the Chancellor to provide more support to the most vulnerable in our society but we continue to be concerned about the worsening cost of living crisis for social housing residents in this country. Being the landlord for over 350,000 people gives us a unique insight into the unfairness that persists in the energy market for low-income and vulnerable households. Whilst economists may be more buoyant about the wholesale price of energy in the future, it is vital to remember that the cost of living crisis is happening now. Summer seems a long way away for most of our residents, whose average income is £15,000 a year.
We wrote to the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero recently to ask for the government to intervene to ensure that everyone, no matter how they pay for their energy, has access to the same tariffs and discounts. I am very pleased that the Chancellor has confirmed in his Budget that prepayment meter customers will no longer be charged more to receive their energy. We should all have equal access to the best value tariffs and discounts. I also very much welcome the move announced to extend the Energy Price Guarantee at its current level for a further three months.
Next we would like to see the government consider a ‘social tariff’ for the lowest income households who are struggling to afford their basic energy needs and look at other measures to support those on the lowest incomes.
We have also written to the leading energy companies to ask that we take a collaborative approach to making sure that people know what help is available to them and how they can access it. Redemption rates for vouchers issued through the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme are disappointingly low, which sadly means that support hasn’t always been reaching those who need it most.”