Shabana Mahmood MP Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood
Shabana has written to the Energy Minister regarding failures of the Warm Home Discount scheme.
The scheme has left vulnerable people out in the cold after changes to eligibility criteria last year.
A number of Birmingham Ladywood constituents have been impacted by the changes, missing out on this vital payment.
In her letter to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Shabana asks Ministers to look again at the scheme to review the assessment criteria.
You can read the letter in full below.
Letter to the Minister
Dear Parliamentary Undersecretary of State
I am writing to raise the concerns of a number of my constituents who found this winter that they are no longer eligible for the warm homes discount.
It is clear that the changes the government made to the eligibility criteria and process for the discount have left a number of low-income households out in the cold.
The process by which the government is determining whether or not people’s bills are high enough to receive the discount is far removed from reality. The algorithm being used by your department which looks at people’s property size, type and age will not always show an accurate picture of the extortionate bills people are left with.
It means those living in newer smaller houses, who are often those on lower incomes, are not always qualifying for the support.
Additionally, those that have been refused the discount have been told that to challenge their eligibility, they need an Energy Performance Certificate, which can be difficult to secure and comes at a cost that would almost offset the payment they are applying for.
I welcome the fact that the energy minister has said he will consider what improvements can be made for the roll out of the discount next year, but that will do nothing to support the people in my constituency who are struggling now. Many of my constituents are vulnerable low-income households who rely on the payment to support them through the winter months, particularly as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
What consideration have you given to alternative mechanisms for assessing eligibility and whether an individual has high costs, not just for next winter, but for those who are struggling now?
I look forward to your response.