Last week I attended a candlelight vigil in memory of elderly people who had lost their lives to the cold as part of Age UK’s Cold Homes Week.
I believe that it is vital for the Government to do as much as possible to help those struggling to pay their energy bills, and I very much welcome that the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has confirmed that her department will deliver on its promise to insulate a million more homes over the next five years.
Households struggling with their bills are eligible for insulation measures, including solid wall insulation, through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. Homeowners and those in privately rented homes who are on specific benefits may also be eligible for support towards heating improvements, including oil-fired boiler replacements, through ECO Affordable Warmth.
In the recent Spending Review, the Chancellor announced a new energy efficiency supplier obligation from 2017 which will be more focused on those that need the help the most. This will replace ECO in 2017, and run for five years.
To help ensure that households at risk of fuel poverty can afford to heat their homes, the Government has committed to continue the Warm Home Discount scheme. This helps more than 2 million households a year with £140 to go towards their energy bills. Pensioners also get further help through the Winter Fuel Payment.
I believe that with its commitment to helping the most vulnerable insulate their homes and with the extra financial support, the Government is working hard to help those most struggling with energy bills.
I want to thank Age UK Sutton for having me and to everyone I met there for taking the time to talk to me. You can find out more about the ECO Scheme here and you can find out more about Age UK Sutton here.