Government's fuel handout scheme aimed to help those in fuel poverty 'failing' due to lack of awareness

 

A government scheme aimed to help those in fuel poverty is failing, a charity warns today.

Low earners are missing out on valuable fuel handouts because no-one has told them about them, according to Turn2us.

The charity’s research published today reveals that two-thirds of struggling families believe that paying this winter’s soaring energy bills will cause them financial hardship. Yet almost half – 45 per cent – fail to claim the state benefits they may be entitled to.

A price hikes of 9 per cent came into force from Monday for millions of customers of SSE while British Gas, Npower and Scottish Power have announced similar increases in gas bills for their customers this autumn.

The average dual fuel bill now stands at more than £1,300.

But crucially seven out of 10 people have no idea that there are cheaper social tariffs offered by energy companies.

Meanwhile more than two-fifths of struggling families are not aware of the Government’s Warm Front scheme, which hands out grants to vulnerable people to help make their homes more energy-efficient.

Campaigners say insulation and heating improvements can help cut hundreds off the annual energy bills of an average home.

Alison Taylor, director of Turn2us said: “There is a need for individuals and families to have access to clear information and independent guidance to help them find support with rising energy costs.”

There are believed to be around 4.75 million households in fuel poverty in the UK, forced to spend more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth.

Turn2us has launched an Acting on Fuel Poverty campaign to highlight the support available to those struggling with their fuel costs at www.fuelpovertymap.org.uk.

It also offers a Grants Search database which lists more than 3,000 charitable funds, information pages on increasing energy efficiency and energy efficiency grants.

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