Energy help scheme has £50m to burn

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The Independent Online

As households face up to a winter with even higher energy bills, the government scheme set up to help the UK's poorest avoid crippling costs is underspending by £50m.

Consumer Focus, Citizens Advice, Age UK and National Children's Bureau are urging those worried about their energy bills to find out if they are eligible for free heating and insulation improvements from Warm Front after research found that six million people across England were planning to cut back on heating their homes this winter due to the cost. Changes to the scheme that mean more households are now eligible for help, including some who may have previously been turned down.

Last week, the Government amended the scheme to allow more households, particularly those with children or on low incomes, to take advantage of the support, which could cut annual bills by £600.

However, as this is the last year of the scheme, millions could miss out by failing to act quickly.

For more information, call Warm Front on 0800 316 2805. Further information and an application form are available at direct.gov.uk. It takes about eight weeks from the day you apply to instal heating or insulation.

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