MP backs free heating help for the poorest households
Easington MP Grahame Morris is backing an awareness push from Consumer Focus, Citizens Advice, Age UK and National Children’s Bureau on free heating help available for the poorest households from Warm Front. Mr Morris is urging people in East Durham worried about their energy bills to find out if they are eligible for free heating and insulation improvements from Warm Front.
The call comes as new research from Consumer Focus shows that around six million households across England plan to cut back on heating their home this winter due to worries about affording their energy bills. Around 425,400 of these households are in the North East.
Yet although so many people are worried and are cutting back, millions of pounds worth of help is being left unclaimed under Warm Front, the Government’s scheme to help the poorest households in England to make their homes warmer and cut their energy bills.
Over 2011-12 the Warm Front scheme was under-spent by over £50 million. The number of applications for the scheme fell sharply after being over-subscribed in 2010-11. Claim rates are again low this year. Across the North East only 1,191 people applied to Warm Front between April and July 2012. This is a huge fall from the 10,951 applications in the whole of the financial year 2010-11.
Grahame Morris MP for Easington, said:
“I know that energy bills are a big worry for many people in East Durham, and that the poorest households who can least afford it, are the hardest hit by high prices. It is very worrying that so many people plan to cut back on their heating to make ends meet. No-one should have to make the choice between heating and eating. I would urge anyone worried about their bills to contact their local Age UK or Citizens Advice to find out if they can claim free help from Warm Front to help them be warm, well and wealthier this winter.’
As the eligibility criteria for help under the Warm Front scheme is widening from 12 September, even if someone has been turned down before they may be able to get help this year. The heating and insulation improvements Warm Front offers could help thousands of households to stay warm and well and save up to £600 off their energy bills each year.
People can find out if they can get free help from Warm Front by calling 0800 316 2805 or by visiting their local Citizens Advice Bureau or Age UK.”
Further information and an online application form are also available on www.direct.gov.uk