Posted: Fri 8th Jul 2022

Call for action to ensure Winter Fuel Support Scheme benefits as many households as possible

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 8th, 2022

Politicians have called for changes to the Winter Fuel Support Scheme to be made before autumn to ensure the payment reaches as many eligible households as possible. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They have also called on the Welsh Government to widen the eligibility of the payment to reach more low-income, vulnerable households in need, such as those eligible for pension credit, and to launch a public awareness campaign on the winter fuel support scheme to improve awareness and boost uptake. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Speaking in the Opposition Debate on the Winter Fuel Support Scheme, North Wales MS Mark Isherwood, who is Chair of the Senedd Cross-Party Group on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, stressed that the Welsh Government would not have been able to increase its Winter Fuel Scheme without the consequential funding provided by the UK Government and emphasised the need for as many eligible households to benefit from it. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He said: “National Energy Action, NEA Cymru have called for the Winter fuel support scheme payment to be made in the Autumn, so households know they have the funds before they turn their heating on. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The Minister has previously stated that she would want the payment to be available by October, if not September. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Hence our amendment, which ‘further calls on the Welsh Government to guarantee any changes to the Winter Fuel Support Scheme are made ahead of Autumn to ensure the payment reaches as many eligible households as possible’. Can the Minister confirm whether this is still her intention?” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He added: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Age Cymru have called for the Welsh Government to extend eligibility criteria for the Winter Fuel Support Scheme to include older people in receipt of Pension Credit. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The Minister previously stated that the Welsh Government were going to extend eligibility and would be looking “not just in terms of those on pension credit, but wider eligibility”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Hence our Amendment ‘further calls on the Welsh Government to widen the eligibility of the Winter Fuel Payment to reach more low-income, vulnerable households in need, such as those eligible for Pension Credit’. Can the Minister provide an update accordingly? ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We understand that by late January, there had been relatively low take-up of the Scheme, with variation between Local Authorities. “It also needs to be better publicised that off-gas households, using oil or LPG, are eligible for the scheme if they are connected to the electricity grid. “Our amendment therefore calls on the Welsh Government to ‘launch a public awareness campaign on the winter fuel support scheme to improve awareness and boost uptake of the scheme’.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Isherwood also highlighted the need to provide fuel bill support to people who are hosts under the Homes for Ukraine Wales Scheme. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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