A petition has been started calling on the Secretary of State for Business to include off-grid households in the Government £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme. Please sign it here:
Please also write to MPs about this. You can find out who your MP is via these links:
You don’t have to be registered to vote to contact an MP. If you have a postal address, you can contact the MP for that postcode area. Or you can contact the MP for the place you are currently moored, using the address and postcode of a nearby Post Office or pub, and say you live on a boat with no fixed address.
A template letter to MPs is below or download it here Template letter to MP – off grid households should receive £400 energy bill rebate
Include off-grid households in Government £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme!
Dear ___________ MP
I live on a boat without a permanent mooring on the UK’s inland waterways. I am writing to you to express my concern about the exclusion of off-grid households like mine in the Government £400 cost of living energy grant. I believe that households who live off-grid should qualify equally for the scheme.
I am writing to ask you to ensure that the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reverses this policy decision and includes off-grid households, who by their nature cannot have a domestic electricity meter, in the cost of living energy grant. Please would you ask a Parliamentary Question about this.
Many thousands of people in the UK live off-grid. They live in boats, caravans, vehicles, or on the land without mains services. They are typically either working people on low incomes, or pensioners. Research* has shown that 51% of the liveaboard boater community were likely to have an annual income below £20,000, and 40% were likely to be earning minimum wage or less. The cost of living has increased much faster than wages. Some are having to rely on food banks and the generosity of others in the community.
Most of these households rely wholly or partly on diesel engines or generators, petrol generators, bottled LPG gas and solid fuel to heat and light their homes and to cook and heat water. Rapid inflation in 2022 means that petrol and diesel prices have risen by almost 50% and bottled LPG by around 40% compared to 12 months ago. The wholesale cost of LPG has doubled in the past year. Those who have a mains electricity hook-up do not qualify for the grant because the supply to the marina or caravan site is commercial, not domestic. The cost of solid fuel started to increase around 12 months ago.
People who live off grid may be able to use solar and wind power, but the amount of power renewables can generate if your home is a boat, vehicle or caravan is limited, especially in winter.
It is unjust to exclude low income households like mine from the support that is being offered to the rest of the UK population, even to the most wealthy.
Thank you. I look forward to your reply.
A N Boater
*Research to identify impacts of British Waterways policy on boat dwellers without moorings, by Kennet and Avon Boating Community and similar research regarding the liveaboard boater community in London in the same year.