Secretary of State Chris Huhne today announced that the budget for the Government Warm Front scheme had been fully allocated. The scheme installs insulation and heating measures to make your home warmer, healthier and more energy efficient.
The scheme is open to people aged 60 or over; who are pregnant or have children under 16; or are on benefits. Should you qualify, you would be eligible for heating and insulation measures up to the value of £3,500, or £6,000 where oil central heating and other alternative technologies are recommended.
Chris Huhne said: “The coalition intends to tackle the underlying causes of fuel poverty by improving the energy efficiency of homes through our new Green Deal and by requiring energy companies, through the Warm Home Discount scheme, to provide financial support with fuel bills to more of the most vulnerable households.”
The scheme is now unable to take new applications until the next financial year. Although applicants who have already registered with Warm Front will not be affected, around 76,000 heating and insulation jobs are awaiting installation.
Age UK’s Charity Director Michelle Mitchell said: “It is extremely regrettable that the one publicly funded programme in England specifically designed to tackle fuel poverty has been forced to close its doors to new applicants. Warm Front has provided much-needed help for millions of older people during the last decade. With an estimated 3.5 million older people living in fuel poverty, it is a huge concern that many frail and vulnerable older people who desperately need help to upgrade their heating systems or improve their insulation will now be left to their own devices.
However, a spokesperson from DECC said: “No one will be missing out- those that applied in time will get the work done.”
Energy suppliers are now obliged under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target to help the most vulnerable households install energy efficiency measures. From April next year, energy companies will be required by law to give a discount on energy bills to more of their most vulnerable customers under the new Warm Home Discount scheme.
Age UK has launched its ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign to provide advice, support and practical services to cope with issues like heating, health and human contact this winter. Older people and their families can call Age UK Advice for free information and support on freephone 0800 169 65 65.”