Every day, Care & Repair see older people in Wales living in unfit and unsafe housing, with few opportunities for redress or to improve their situation.

Until April 2023, Care & Repair had a specialist fuel poverty and energy advice service. Almost all clients who interacted with this service were living in fuel poverty. Using an anonymized sample of our clients, we have calculated the average spending on energy over a three-year period for Care & Repair clients who used this service and received government support.

Key Findings

  • Even with government support packages and a fall in the energy price cap, the average Care & Repair client will spend 19% of their income on utilities this coming winter 2023-24, with 15% of their income being spent on gas and electric alone. This puts our average client in fuel poverty, struggling to heat their homes to a satisfactory level.
  • In our sample of Care & Repair households that accessed 70+ Cymru, our energy advice service, 96% of households were living in fuel poverty. Care & Repair’s clients are particularly at risk of the health implications of cold homes; 75% of excess winter deaths are people aged 75 and above.
  • Even with an increase in state pension in line with inflation, our estimation shows that older people are still spending a higher proportion of their income on their utility bills compared to 2021/2022 levels. Meanwhile, our clients are grappling with increases of other costs, such as an average weekly food shop which has risen by 28% from 2021.

Government support packages are not a permanent solution to helping people stay out of fuel poverty; long-term solutions are needed to keep older people warm in their homes, preventing cold-related illnesses and further hospital admissions.

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Care & Repair Cymru's Recommendations

Introduction of social tariffs for energy bills

Lower-income households pay a poverty premium for energy. Offering discounted price plans will mean bills become affordable and households are resilient against energy price rises in the future.

Reform on standing charges

Standing charges for energy bills has risen by 64% since the introduction of the price cap and disproportionately affect lower-income households and those on PPMs. Standing charges should be reduced to reflect an affordable price.

Safety net grant for housing disrepair

A safety net grant will help make energy improvements on homes, such as repairing draughty windows. Find out more about this ask in our State of Older People’s Housing Report.

Care & Repair’s services are vital for the health of older people in Wales

Care & Repair works tirelessly across Wales to support vulnerable older households, helping them live independently in warm, safe, and accessible homes. Complexity of need and demand volume for our services are at an all-time high, and older people in Wales rely on the help we provide.

To support our clients with cold and energy inefficient homes and prevent cold-related illness, Care & Repair Cymru will be offering our new Older Not Colder service, a home energy advice service funded by Wales & West Utilities. We will provide home energy saving techniques, housing improvements, supported access to government and benevolent grants and challenge unfair practice by energy suppliers.

As we see increasing numbers of older people rationing energy, falling into fuel poverty, and ending up in hospital with cold-related illness, our service is more vital than ever. We provide a lifeline to vulnerable households that have limited opportunities to improve their situation.

Hannah Peeler, Policy & Funding Officer Hannah.peeler@careandrepair.org.uk

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: For all media enquiries, please contact Jack Bentley: jack.bentley@careandrepair.org.uk | 07818 554 385

The State of Older People’s Housing in Wales

There is a crisis in older people’s housing. Care & Repair Cymru’s new report looks at the challenges, causes and solutions to a threat targeting our oldest homeowners.

Read our housing report

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