2 February 2012
As the big freeze grips the country, pensioners and the most vulnerable are being urged to take advantage of a government grant scheme to help make homes warmer.
Letters have just landed on 675,000 doormats across England to raise awareness about the Warm Front scheme.
The letters explain how pensioners and people on very low incomes can get money off having their heating repaired or replaced or having their lofts insulated through picking up the phone and contacting Warm Front.
So far the scheme has assisted 21,000 homes this financial year, but has the capacity to help at least 16,000 more before the end of March and at least 40,000 next year.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “The cold weather we’re experiencing at the moment reminds everyone how important it is to have a cosy home so I’m urging anyone who’s eligible for a Warm Front grant to pick up the phone. Getting a new boiler, fixing an old one, or even just topping up loft insulation can lead to a warmer home in the future. It’s easy to apply, all you have to do is call 0800 316 6004 and, if you’re eligible, the Warm Front team will do all the paperwork for you.”
The mailouts concentrated on areas where there are high levels of fuel poverty like Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and County Durham.
The Government has also been working with National Energy Action, Consumer Focus and Citizens Advice to further promote the Warm Front scheme.
As forecasters predict freezing temperatures across the country this weekend, pensioners and the most vulnerable are being reminded what help is available to keep warm.
Provides grants to people in poorly heated or insulated homes to pay for boiler repairs, new central heating systems and insulation work. Those eligible can apply for up to £3,500 towards the cost of the work or up to £6,000 for homes not connected to mains gas.
Warm Home Discount
This scheme will help around two million low income and vulnerable households this year, including automatically giving £120 discount to about 600,000 of the most vulnerable pensioners this winter.
Cold Weather Payments
Cold Weather Payments are paid to pensioners who receive pension credit or people on income-related benefits who meet certain criteria, during periods of severely cold weather. Since the start of this winter’s Cold Weather Payment season, DWP has paid an estimated £27.8m to more than 1.1m customers across Great Britain through Cold Weather Payments.
Winter Fuel Payment
Annual payments for pensioners worth up to £300 have been paid out to an estimated 12.7 million people older people in more than 9 million homes.
The Government is also taking action this winter to help consumers help themselves and save money on bills by shopping around and switching. Consumers can log on to www.direct.gov.uk/homeenergy for advice on how to Check, Switch and Insulate to Save.
Notes for editors:
- Further details on the Warm Front scheme can be found on Directgov
- The total budget of £143m consists of £110m allocated to Warm Front and associated activities secured through the Spending Review 2010. Of this, £108m was directly allocated to Warm Front. In addition DECC allocated £25m to support the completion of outstanding work from 2010/11 with a further £10m allocated to Warm Front in 2011/12 from the Department of Health.
- The scheme is targeted at people on certain income-related benefits and living in properties that are poorly insulated and/or do not have a working central heating system. Applicants must own their home or rent it from a private landlord. The measures provided under the scheme are tailored to each property drawn from the measures listed below:
- Loft insulation (where suitable)
- Draught proofing
- Cavity-wall insulation (some cavity walls are unsuitable and approx one third of properties have solid walls)
- Hot-water-tank insulation
Repairs to an existing heating systems
- A new gas or oil central heating system
Electric storage heaters
Electric heaters for bathrooms where electricity is the main heating source*
Conversion of a solid-fuel open fire to a modern glass-fronted fire
Timer controls for electric space and water heaters
- Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) heating systems
Through Warm Home Discount, a person may be eligible for a Core Group discount if, on 11 September 2011, they (or their partner) were receiving the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit but not the savings credit element, naed on the electricity bill where they live and getting their electricity from one of the energy companies taking part in the scheme.
There are also other energy advice lines such as the Home Heat Helpline for advice on the help from energy suppliers available at the moment on 0800 336699.