Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, has welcomed the announcement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that many of those who draw on care or support will receive a £400 discount on their fuel bills through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Additional Fund or £200 for those using alternative fuels.
Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“We are grateful to have received this support measure from Government, at a time when the care sector is balancing a multitude of financial pressures whilst maintaining high-quality care and support. Care England has worked closely with Government to ensure this level of support was actualised. The payment will be paid directly to residents and we now await the details of how this funding will be operationalised to ensure it reaches the individual or organisation incurring the increased energy cost. We will continue to work closely with our members to ensure it becomes a tangible benefit to those who incur the increased cost.”
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced details for how people in England, Scotland and Wales without a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier, including care home residents and others in care facilities/sheltered accommodation, will receive a £400 discount through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF). Care England has questioned the definition of “wholly or partly self-funded” to ensure those entitled to funding receive it and has asked for clarity on how this payment is to be passed on to the entity paying the increased cost of energy.
Online applications will open in January for England, Scotland and Wales who are eligible for the £400 EBSS Alternative Funding to submit their details. Payments that meet the eligibility criteria – including people who get their energy through a commercial contract will be made by Local Authorities in Great Britain. This is likely to include care home residents
The Government is also providing a further £200 Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) to help those households in Great Britain who use alternative fuels such as biomass or heating oil to meet energy costs this winter. Those eligible for the AFP support in Great Britain, will receive payment automatically via their electricity supplier in February, with no need to take any action. Those who need to apply for the AFP, for example, because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier, will be able to do so in February, through the same GOV.UK portal as the one that will be used to apply for support under the EBSS Alternative Funding scheme.
Martin Green continues:
“The Government support for the care sector on energy has been welcome and this represents another measure to ensure that the profound effect the energy landscape has had on our sector is minimised. We are however saddened to learn that any further support measures will not be announced until January 2023, contrary to the previously envisaged December 2022 announcement. The energy crisis has been immense for adult social care, where the disproportionate impact of energy price rises is threatening the existence of care providers nationwide. As of today, there is one short-term energy deal on the table, so this delay only hampers care providers’ efforts to take advance of the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme which is due to end in March 2023.”