Turn2us urges Government to help low-income households in Spring Budget



Turn2Us urges Government to help low-income households in Spring Budget as charity has 138% rise in people worried about energy and water bill debt.

• Chancellor should retain warm home payment

• Keep the energy price cap where it is

• Introduce a new winter payment for low-income households

The amount of people contacting Turn2us worried about energy and water bill debt has risen 138 per cent this winter, compared to the same period last year (September 1-January 31).

Meanwhile the Turn2us online benefits calculator saw a 27 per cent increase in people completing calculations in January 2023 compared to January 2022, as more and more households seek additional financial support.

High inflation on energy prices hits lower-income households hardest, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). Because lower-income households spend a bigger share of their total income on fuel costs, they are almost three times as exposed to energy price hikes as highest-income households. Turn2us, which helps people withstand financial shocks, but also seeks to address the underlying causes of poverty and financial insecurity, says this is deeply unfair and must be addressed.

The Charity calls for:

• The Government to retain the energy price cap at its current level and keep the £400 warm homes payment to protect people living on low incomes facing spiralling bills for food and rent.

• Introduce a low-income cost-of-living payment in winter itself, when people need it most. At present the payment only goes out in Spring and Autumn, and much of the autumn payment can be eaten up by fuel debt.

• Uprate Local Housing Allowance, which has been frozen since 2020, in line with the increasing cost of rents to stop more families being pushed into arrears and even homelessness. Since last winter, Turn2us has seen a 20 per cent increase in people getting in touch because they’re facing homelessness.

The charity is calling on the Government to invest in creating a fairer, simpler and easier-to-use social security system that supports people more flexibly when their situation changes.

Claire Atchia McMaster, director of Income and External Affairs at Turn2us, says: “The reduction in Government-provided support like the Energy Price Guarantee and the end of the £400 energy rebate scheme means households will still struggle. The decisions the Government makes this week will have a huge impact on how many more people tip into financial crisis now and next winter.

“With lowest-income households hardest hit, we urge the government to retain these vital measures in the Spring Statement and look at how other benefits can be adjusted to make sure individuals and families aren’t plunged even deeper into poverty as the cost-of-living crisis continues.”

Gary and Natasha Waterhouse, who have both received financial support and advice from Turn2us, rely on affordable energy to run medical equipment they both need. Gary says:

“I had to give up work to become a carer for Natasha after she became disabled following surgery to remove a spinal cord tumour. The only income we receive now is from the Government but it’s not enough to live on, especially with rising costs of living. I feel forgotten about. “We have to prioritise what we need, like keeping electricity on for medical equipment and putting food on the table. Other bills get left to the wayside, so arrears and debts continue to build. People need support and they need it now and to continue into next winter.”

Research suggests that £15.5 billion of benefits do not get claimed every year in part due to shame, stigma and complicated or inaccessible application processes. Turn2us sees financial security as a right, and something that is necessary for someone to thrive, rather than just survive. The charity encourages people to check what additional support they could be entitled to using their free, easy and confidential benefits calculator at