General Election 2024

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Call for a long-term solution to the energy crisis

We’ve called for an urgent review into who's included in the government’s new energy discount scheme. We’re also calling for work to begin on a long-term plan that provides security for the voluntary sector and reduces future risks of unaffordable energy bills.

Hundreds of members joined our lobbying efforts to extend the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, sharing stories of how escalating bills had impacted their organisations. We shared these with government, alongside warnings of what would happen if support didn’t continue.

Read more about what we did.

While we welcome that charities have been included in the new scheme, we’re deeply concerned about the significant reduction in financial support and the impact it will have on already struggling organisations.

The current Energy Bill Relief Scheme had a package of £18.4 billion across six months and the new support scheme is capped at £5.4 billion across 12 months.

We appreciate the government cannot subsidise energy bills forever, but there is a significant risk to charities if we don’t urgently start working on a long-term plan. To be painfully blunt – charities save lives. For every charity that stops a service, or closes its doors forever, there are people who lose that lifeline.

Sarah Vibert, CEO

What we’re calling for

  1. Targeted support. All high-energy use charities to get enhanced support, such as hospices, refuges, social care and community leisure providers.
  2. A fairer solution for charities. Government should bring innovators, energy leaders and the charity sector together, exploring options for a social/community tariffs as well as energy caps for voluntary organisations.
  3. A reduction in energy usage overall. The Budget in March must cover energy reduction measures, including better plans and incentives for introducing renewable energy and immediate solutions like insulation.
  4. A decrease in the UK’s vulnerability. The government must prevent this happening again by lowering the impact of external shocks that affect energy supply and drive up costs.

The power of a collective voice

The news of inclusion for the charity sector in the new scheme might not have happened without the powerful lobbying efforts of the charity sector.

Saskia Konynenburg, director of strategic communications and insights, explains what we did.

“There’s nothing more powerful than a united, collective voice. And who better to illustrate the catastrophic pressure facing the voluntary sector than NCVO’s members? Real people, in real organisations, sharing their stories.

“The data we have is patchy and mostly covers all non-domestic energy costs as a whole, rather than specific voluntary sector insights. So while we know some organisations are facing quadruple costs compared to last year, we needed another way to demonstrate it.

“As well as pushing for meetings with various government departments we helped members write to their MPs. We contacted the media and encouraged them to cover the issue and secured interviews on BBC Breakfast, The Guardian and sector news.

“In December we saw a positive step when the UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said in parliament that he understood the unique challenges faced by the charitable sector which couldn’t push the rising costs onto customers. And following the announcement of the new scheme, our CEO Sarah Vibert was invited to a briefing with the treasury minister.

“We’re being listened to, but we need to keep up the momentum so we can ensure a fair deal for charities.”

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