MSE first reported last week (9 November) that the DWP had sent out letters with incorrect and financially damaging wording on the reverse of the envelopes encouraging people, many of whom are vulnerable, to switch their energy tariff in order to save “an extra £ 290”. People were then told to contact Citizens Advice for more information.
An unprecedented spike in energy prices, however, has meant that switching tariffs right now would cost people up to 30% more and leave them seriously out of pocket as all the cheapest deals in the market have been pulled.
The letters were sent to 10 million people who are likely to be eligible for Winter Fuel Payments, an annual tax-free payment to help older people with their gas and electricity bills.
MSE was originally told that not all the letters had been sent out. However, the DWP has since confirmed that all 10 million people received the wrongly-worded envelopes. At the time, the DWP said: “It would’ve been impractical, costly and wasteful to replace the 10 million envelopes with new ones.”
But, as a result of our reporting, the DWP has now said it will stop using the envelopes. It told MSE: “The message on these envelopes was simply a suggestion and no further will be issued.”