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Shapps ‘insistent’ energy support vouchers should reach households

The Government is “insistent” energy suppliers must ensure vouchers designed to help customers through the winter reach their intended targets, the Business Secretary has said.

Grant Shapps told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he would meet with suppliers to ensure the vouchers are paid out.

The support is £400 over six months – paid in instalments of either £66 or £67.

For a majority of households this amount will be taken off automatically from their bills. But customers who are on pre-payment meters will be given vouchers that they have to redeem at a PayPoint outlet.

Mr Shapps said he would “certainly want to know” if there are people not getting the support they have been promised.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride
Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride (Aaron Chow/PA)

“There is no excuse, because the Government has provided the money to… providers,” he said on Monday.

“If there are still people who don’t have those vouchers though, then it’s very, very important that those energy companies are providing it.

“I will undertake to meet with those energy providers again and be absolutely insistent, since we are giving them the money, that that money is paid out.”

Earlier this month Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said there was a “blockage” in getting the support out to pre-payment meter households.

He said that the Government would do “whatever is necessary” to unblock the pipeline and ensure the vouchers reached households.

A month ago, PayPoint revealed that a little over half of the 800,000 vouchers it had issued so far had not yet been redeemed.

The company said that households with pre-payment meters might be missing out on around £27 million in support as a result.

Energy bills are capped at 34p per unit of electricity and 10.3p per unit of gas between October and the end of March. The £400 support comes on top of this cap.

From April the Government’s cap on bills will become less generous for households.