OLDER people in Wales face "crippling anxiety" over their fuel bills unless immediate long-term support is provided by Westminster.

That is according to Age Cymru, which is calling on the Westminster government to extend support for those on the lowest incomes.

This comes after Ofgem announced earlier this week that the energy price cap for an average household will rise by £800 to £2,800.

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Age Cymru and partners throughout the UK have heard that many older people are now only leaving home for health appointments and have cut back on seeing grandchildren, family, and friends to save on fuel and travel costs.

Some are going to extreme lengths such as eating just one meal a day or showering just once a fortnight to keep costs down.

Others are going without dental treatment, cutting their own hair, borrowing money to buy heating oil, and staying in bed all day to stay warm.

Age Cymru is specifically calling for four key points of action:

  • Targeting a direct one-off payment of £500 to those on the lowest incomes to help mitigate the impact of energy price rises;
  • Raising the level of benefits and the State Pension during this financial year so they keep pace with inflation;
  • Introducing improved social tariffs into the energy market;
  • Doing more to ensure everyone eligible for benefits such as Pension Credit receives their entitlement.

Earlier this week chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined UK Government plans to help struggling families cope with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

The chancellor made the announcement the day after the publication of the embarrassing Sue Gray report on the partygate scandal.

He confirmed eight-million low-income households will get a one-off payment of £650.

He also said pensioners will receive a one-off payment of £300.

One third of all UK housholds will receive one or more of the payments

  • £650 for those on benefits;
  • £300 extra for pensioners;
  • £150 on top for those on non means tested disabilities.

Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd said: “Older people in Wales have cut back as much as they can on spending, and some are already cutting back on essentials such as buying food or heating their homes.

"There is no more they can do in terms of budgeting.

"This latest announcement will leave many older people crippled with anxiety and not knowing how they can meet these surging bills.”

Following the announcement from Mr Sunak, Ms Lloyd said: "We welcome the specific support for older people, as they’re disproportionally affected by the cost of living crisis.

"We welcome that the £200 loan has increased to a £400 non-payable grant.

"However, what is the long-term plan? As there is so much uncertainty surrounding energy costs. 

"Today’s announcement will do little to allay people’s long term fears.”

Western Telegraph: