‘Look after our elderly!’ – John Penrose joins calls to SCRAP loophole depriving OAPs of energy discount

Labour, Tory and SNP MPs have joined forces to call on No 10 to axe a loophole which allows energy suppliers with fewer than 250,000 customers to escape paying the ‘Warm Home Discount’.

THERESA May has been urged by five powerful Commons Committee chairs to scrap rules depriving pensioners of £140 electricity bill discount.

Labour, Tory and SNP MPs have joined forces to demand the Government axe a loophole which allows energy suppliers with fewer than 250,000 customers to escape paying it.

The Sun earlier this month revealed up to 200,000 pensioners may have missed out on the cash – branded a ‘Warm Home Discount’ – last year alone.

Labour’s Frank Field, Meg Hillier and Tory campaigners Rob Halfon, Maria Miller and Sarah Wollaston are among 25 MPs to have signed a letter to the PM demanding action.

They say: “Given that 1 in 12 people are now with suppliers who do not fund these vital schemes, a number that has trebled in the past three years, we are writing to urge you to look again at these exemptions.”

The MPs also include Tory former Minister John Penrose, former Labour Minister Caroline Flint and high profile backbenchers such as Jess Philips and Layla Moran, tipped as a future leader of the Lib Dems.

Citizens Advice has already urged the Government to review the ‘threshold’ and modernise the scheme to ensure the money gets to the “most vulnerable in society”.

When the Warm Home Discount was introduced in 2011, the Big Six energy suppliers accounted for 99 per cent of the market.

It’s now just 80 per cent as smaller suppliers such as Octopus Energy become household names.

Government insiders insist they are aware of the problem given suppliers appear to be “grouping” below the 250,000 customer threshold to escape offering the discount.

First Utility told The Sun they believe the exemption is hurting competition as fewer OAPs are switching suppliers because they will lose the discount.

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