Truss announces £2,500 cap on average annual energy bills until 2024

Public sector bodies, charities and business to get equivalent support for six months, says prime minister, as BASW members' survey illustrates gravity of cost of living crisis for social workers and those they support

Smart meter placed next to gas stove with blue flames burning
Credit: I-Wei Huang/Adobe Stock

The government has capped average energy bills for households at £2,500 for the next two years, with public bodies, charities and businesses getting support of an equivalent level for the next six months.

New prime minister Liz Truss announced the long-awaited package, which will apply from 1 October, in a statement to Parliament today, effectively superseding the rise in the energy price cap, from £1,971 to £3,549 a year, that was due to come into force on that date.

The package comes amid widespread concerns about the impact of spiralling energy bills – driven by the shortage of gas triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – on people needing social care, foster carers, social workers, local authorities and care providers.

The gravity of the situation for professionals and those they support was illustrated by the results of a survey of 242 British Association of Social Workers (BASW) members by the organisation’s magazine, Professional Social Work. This found that:

  • 95% strongly agreed that vulnerable people may die this winter due to the cost of living crisis.
  • 95% strongly agreed that domestic violence would increase.
  • 75% strongly agreed that more children would come into care.
  • 55% strongly agreed that caseloads would become unmanageable.

In relation to practitioners themselves, the survey found that:

  • 43% feared they would struggle to pay their own bills.
  • 20% expected to use a food bank themselves soon.
  • 9% already had used a food bank recently.

On the back of the survey, BASW chief executive Ruth Allen wrote to Truss urging government action.

She said: “Social workers are among the best placed professionals to comment on the cost-of-living crisis. What they have told us is shocking and an important insight into the impact on real lives. To hear of social workers being forced to use food banks shows how deeply poverty and governmental neglect has penetrated.”

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