Hidden environmental levies to result in debt worries for the poor?

Environmental levies that are added on to fuel bills could lead to a greater need for debt help among the poorest households in Britain, it has been s…

Environmental levies that are added on to fuel bills could lead to a greater need for debt help among the poorest households in Britain, it has been suggested.

The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group has labelled the add-ons “regressive” and called for suppliers to prioritise the fuel poor with their energy efficiency programmes.

And new research from uSwitch.com has backed the fears of the body.

The website discovered hidden taxes to combat climate change already mean £84 – or seven per cent – is added on to energy costs.

Policies introduced by the previous government are expected to add an extra six per cent (£72) to these levies in the next ten years – making hidden taxes rise to £156 a year.

Moreover, a proposed electricity supply levy could lead to a further £10 to £20 being attached to such costs, bringing the sum up to an additional £176 a year.

The portal found 44 per cent of consumers believe any commitment to reducing carbon emissions and to redirect to greener energy sources needs to be achieved with the impact they will have on people’s energy bills in mind.

Nearly a quarter – 22 per cent – of those questioned observed affordable energy has to be the top priority for any action taken.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, remarked: “Lower income households and the fuel poor have more to fear than most as these charges will account for a disproportionately higher amount of their already limited energy spend.”

The Office for National Statistics recently released figures that revealed households in the UK are now using 155 per cent more domestic energy for electrical appliances and lighting than they were in 1970.

By Joe Shervin

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