People living in care homes and on caravan parks can receive £400 to help with their fuel bills as part of a government drive to support all UK households with energy costs this winter.
The government said on Monday that 900,000 households in England, Scotland and Wales without a direct relationship to an energy supplier would be able to apply online for the £400.
The scheme is expected to include people living in care homes, caravan parks, houseboats, homes supplied through private wires, social rented homes, farmers and households living off-grid.
They will need to apply online from January and there will be a phone helpline for those without online access, with details expected to be announced next month. The payments will then be processed via local authorities.
Separately, all households in Northern Ireland will receive a one-off payment of £600 to help with their energy bills, with payments starting in January. Households in Great Britain that use alternative fuels such as heating oil will receive a £200 payment.
Ministers are attempting to complement the existing energy price guarantee scheme, which limits average annual bills to about £2,500 until April, and £3,000 after that.
Energy bills have risen sharply this year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up already inflated gas prices. Prices are expected to remain high through 2023 as European countries try to replace Russian gas supplies.
The business and energy secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “Putin’s illegal war has caused global energy prices to soar, but we are continuing to work hard and urgently to get help to households across the UK, and this update provides people with more certainty on when and how we will deliver help with fuel bills.
“We’re already limiting the amount suppliers can charge consumers for their energy through the energy price guarantee, which will continue to help consumers through to March 2024. We’ve all seen and felt the temperature dropping recently, so today’s updates will help millions worry less about their energy and heating bills this winter.”
About 2m UK households use alternative fuels for heating, of which about 1.7m use heating oil, with the remainder using fuels including coal, liquefied petroleum gas and biomass. The government said last month it would double support to £200 for households using alternative fuels to heat their homes.
Alongside the support for households, the government has subsidised energy costs for “non-domestic” energy customers such as businesses, charities and schools since October. Jeremy Hunt is expected to issue an update on the future of that scheme this week, with the chancellor expected to announce its extension at a less generous rate.