Steve backs free heating help for energy vulnerable

Steve is backing a campaign, led by Consumer Focus and Citizens Advice Bureau, to help the poorest households in Birmingham access free heating help and insulation improvements.

 

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 661,000 households are in the West Midlands.

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 West Midlands only 1,520 people applied to Warm Front between April and July 2012. This is a huge fall from the 16,651 applications in the region over the whole of the financial year 2010-11.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“As the eligibility criteria for help under the Warm Front scheme has widened 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.

“I would urge my constituents to find out if they can get free help by contacting Warm Front on 0800 316 2805.

“In the meantime, I plan to host an energy advice day next month. I have invited British Gas, SSE and other energy providers; independent experts such as Which? and uSwitch; campaign groups including National Energy Action; Birmingham City Council and other housing associations; and charities such as Citizens Advice Bureau to come to Birmingham on October 12th 2012 and offer advice to constituents. 

“My aim is to help my constituents save money by switching tariffs or energy providers; or by following simple tips to save energy.”

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.

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