Cost of living crisis. Money on a home radiator heater. Rising cost of energy and bills

Chilling Consequences: UK Councils’ Lack of Action Amidst Rising Fuel Poverty

Thousands of UK homes eligible to receive Government funding to help address fuel poverty are still not getting a suitable level of support from local councils research conducted by Energy Savings Genie has revealed. The lack of action is prevalent across the country and has left some of the country’s most vulnerable residents in the chilling grip of winter.

With an estimated 3.26 million households in fuel poverty across England, and cold homes linked to over 20% of excess winter deaths, most people would expect there to be some kind of united effort from councils nationwide to address this crisis. However, support has been shockingly scarce even as millions of people continue to grapple with high energy bills, cold weather and a cost of living crisis.

The UK Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme offers vital energy-saving improvements such as heating upgrades, insulation, and renewable energy installations. While qualifying benefit recipients have a clear path to access grants, others face a complex process. For those with health conditions or vulnerabilities but without qualifying benefits, the ECO4 Flex route requires council involvement.

Unfortunately, many councils haven’t fulfilled their obligation to publish Statements of Intent on their websites, a crucial first step for ECO4 Flex applications. Worse, some have no intention of doing so, effectively blocking their residents from accessing essential support, despite financial support being made available by the Government.

Kate Hallewell, spokesperson for Energy Saving Genie, said: “It’s heart-breaking that even amidst so many cost of living challenges, councils are turning away eligible individuals due to a lack of cooperation. We want to see a swift change to the scheme’s rules or mandatory action to prevent councils from hindering access to this critical funding – because that’s effectively what’s happening. The lack of action is inexcusable and could have devastating consequences for families around the country.”

Even councils who have shared Statements of Intent are far from faultless in their approach with their process creating unnecessary additional hurdles for applicants. For instance, some councils currently charge more than £500 per application for issuing a declaration. This means installers who could carry out the energy saving improvements aren’t willing to do so and are effectively avoiding those areas and instead concentrating on regions where there aren’t such stringent financial barriers imposed to support residents.

As a result, individuals with terminal illnesses, heart conditions, elderly citizens, and others are being left in the cold and are facing soaring energy bills without the support they deserve. Some applicants have tragically passed away while awaiting council Statements of Intent.

So, which councils are leaving their vulnerable residents in the cold when they could and should be benefiting from the Government’s £4 billion Energy Company Obligation grant scheme right now?

See the full list here: https://energysavinggenie.co.uk/which-councils-are-on-the-uk-eco-grant-naughty-or-nice-list-this-christmas/

This list is constantly evolving, and Energy Saving Genie urges all councils to fulfil their responsibilities, allowing their residents access to the support they need. Councils that publish their Statements can be moved to the “Nice List” by emailing the link to hello@energysavinggenie.co.uk.

The free grant checker can be found at: https://energysavinggenie.co.uk

About Energy Saving Genie

Energy Saving Genie is the leading provider of hassle-free energy-saving solutions in the UK, helping homeowners access government grants and connect with trusted installers with direct access to funding.

Our free grant checker simplifies the process of finding and applying for Government energy-efficiency grants.

Energy Saving Genie’s 30+ installer network have contracts with all of the major energy suppliers.

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