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Ahead of Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday 2 December 2022, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the distribution network for the North of England, has announced a three-year partnership with end of life charity Marie Curie which will help support terminally ill people in the UK facing rising energy costs.

Higher bills have led to over two thirds of Brits (69%) feeling more worried about their ability to stay warm and healthy at home this winter compared to last winter. A YouGov poll*, commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), found that 75% of people were planning to use less heating this winter. [1]

The partnership, which also includes SGN, Cadent, and Wales & West Utilities, will enable Marie Curie to recruit two Energy Support Officers to their Information and Support Line.

These new roles will provide in-depth information to people on the grants and benefits available to them – helping with rising energy bills, the increasing cost of living, as well as providing general support to families and patients.

Bespoke training will also be provided to Marie Curie staff in the community (Registered Nurses, Healthcare Assistants and Volunteers) so they can identify those struggling to pay their bills, signpost patients to support, and raise awareness of the priority services register.

Matt Williams Head of Information & Support at Marie Curie said:

“Terminally ill people often have energy bills thousands of pounds higher than the average household due to the medical need to stay warm and power medical equipment.

“Nobody should have to worry about keeping warm especially when they are facing the end of their lives but a recent poll has shown that 80% of callers to our Support Line are concerned about whether they or their loved one will be able to keep their home warm this winter and 61% think they or their loved one would struggle to pay their energy bills.

“Support that already exists for other groups – such as the Winter Fuel Payment for over 65s and the Warm Home Discount for people on a low income – must be extended to dying people.

“Living in a cold home can be damaging to your health and wellbeing, so we’re so grateful to the gas distribution networks for working with us as we fear that many thousands of people living with terminal illness will be forced into poverty this winter, and many families may see the death of a terminally ill loved one, before their time.”

Marie Curie is calling on the UK Government to grant working age people early access to their State Pension if they have a terminal illness, because nobody should die in poverty. The charity is also calling for greater support with energy costs to be made available to all terminally ill people, regardless of their age, and for more support with the costs of childcare for terminally ill parents with young children. If you believe that nobody should die in poverty sign Marie Curie’s petition calling for government action mariecurie.org.uk/poverty