Wednesday, August 10, 2022

British Gas adds £2m to efforts to help with cost of living crisis

British Gas is to put an extra £2 million towards money advice centres funded by the British Gas Energy Trust, an independent charity solely funded by British Gas, to get more help to those struggling with living costs.

There are currently 23 advice centres funded by the British Gas Energy Trust over the UK, and this additional investment will add another 20, helping consumers with money advice, access to benefits, help with bill disputes, energy support and help applying for grants. They have managed debts for 24,000 people and have gained an additional £16 million in income for those seeking advice, as well as enabling the write-off of £7 million worth of debts. The extra £2 million in funding will increase this impact with an expected 35,000 people visiting the centres this year.

Independent research from the Centre of Sustainable Energy has shown that over three quarters (78%) of those supported through these organisations were able to plan ahead for household bills and other expenses. Over two thirds (68%) reported that support helped them to access additional income and 72% experienced an improvement in their financial situation since receiving support.

Says Helen Charlton, Chair of the British Gas Energy Trust: “The impacts of high energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis are harsh and far-reaching. So, as a charity we took the decision to release £1m in funding for further advice, help and support, funding projects in areas shown by our research and modelling to be most in need. We felt it was right to take this step at a time of severe, serious and likely ongoing crisis for the people we serve. And we are deeply grateful to Chris O’Shea and British Gas for £1m of matched funding, enabling us to double our efforts and impact at this critical time.”

Every year the British Gas Energy Trust delivers advice and support services for all consumers and last year provided £1.8 million of debt relief, emergency fuel vouchers, and grants to replace boilers, with a further £3.6 million of funding provided to charities who offer advice and money support.

Since the launch of the Trust in 2004, over £85 million has been invested in helping More than 500,000 people manage their energy costs.

This year British Gas Energy Support Fund was also created with a £6m investment in response to the cost-of-living crisis. Through the fund thousands of British Gas customers have been provided with grants between £250 and £750 to help pay towards their energy bills. Over a third of the recipients are on disability benefit and many are families – 30 per cent are single parents and a quarter have children under five years old.

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