Cash available to help fuel bills

Help is available for fuel bills in the Harborough district
Help is available for fuel bills in the Harborough district

Poorer families in the Harborough district are set to benefit from a funding boost to help reduce the impact of high fuel prices in the cold weather.

The cash fund of £387,000, generated by Harborough District Council, can be used for a number of energy-efficiency measures helping to cut household energy bills.

The council says hundreds of families in the district could benefit from a whole raft of improvements.

Council house residents, housing association properties, private tenants and homeowners can all apply for assistance.

The energy saving and fuel poverty reduction measures available include:

*Cheaper energy-saving improvements (installation of hot water jackets, pipe lagging, draught proofing, lost-hatch insulation)

*Improving energy-saving/safety of central heating systems (installation of heating control packs, fitting of thermostatic radiator valves, free boiler servicing for 40 homes, emergency boiler repairs, power flushing for heating systems)

*‘Jam-Jar’ account schemes providing a one-off £150 donation to cover energy bills (120 properties)

*Expert ‘Green Deal’ energy assessment surveys (up to 225 district households – not restricted to low-income families)

*One-to-one debt/budgeting advice from a Citizens’ Advice Bureau project officer

In addition, the council is to pump £40,000 into a boiler replacement scheme (benefiting ten Harborough homes), reduced debt payments of up to £350 for 20 Harborough homes (on pre-paid meters and with debts of over £500) and emergency one-off deliveries of oil and petrol to poorer households.

The council has secured the cash by winning a £3million bid submitted on behalf of a group of Leicestershire local authorities to the Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Cllr Janette Ackerley, the district council’s environmental spokesman said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for low-income households to get additional help to make their homes warmer and to reduce energy bills. The Government has given us a very limited time to spend the money and all the works will have to be completed by the end of March. Funds will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis so I urge people to get in touch with us now.”

Harborough’s share of the money must be spent by April, with the council now inviting householders and businesses which could benefit from the energy-efficiency measures to get in touch.

Residents wanting to apply for help should email warm homes officer Jonny Hodgson at or phone him on 07786 276557.

The Government’s Green Deal scheme, allowing people to pay for energy-efficiency improvements through savings on their energy bills, was launched on last month (January).

For more information visit The Green Deal website.