Free central heating anyone? No?

radiatorThe poor old Government just can’t get it right can they. They invent the Warm Front scheme to help the poorest families who are in fuel poverty heat their homes and reduce their fuel bills. The scheme is so successful that in 2010/11 the scheme is seriously oversubscribed. Do they take this as sign that people are struggling and need more help or do they slash the funding and tighten the criteria so that fewer people can benefit?

In 2010/11, funding for the Warm Front scheme was £366m - almost three times the £143m funding available for the 2011/12 year, despite the fact that research by Consumer Focus suggests that there are now likely to be almost 7 million households living in fuel poverty in the UK, up from the latest official figures of 5.5 million in 2009.

Now, Consumer Focus and National Energy Action are warning that the scheme is set for up to a £30 million underspend this year. This means many older people, families and people with long-term health problems will miss out on much-needed help. That’s right, in an attempt to reduce the oversubscription, tighter criteria and a lack of Government advertising have contributed to up to 16,000 households missing out on free cash* of up to £3,500 and reducing their energy bills by up to £650 a year.

In April to December 2011 less than 40,000 people applied for a Warm Front grant compared with over 130,000 applications in the same period in 2010.

Consumer Focus and National Energy Action are urging people to put in a claim now before the funding for this year ends on 31 March. Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Focus, said “the poorest pensioners and families will have been hit particularly hard by high energy prices. Many are living in cold homes, which could put their health at risk. It is very disappointing that people who need Warm Front help to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat are likely to miss out. “

So can I get some free insulation or heating?

Under the scheme, qualifying households can get improvements worth up to £3,500 ( or £6,000 for oil central heating and other alternative technologies) to include the provision of:

>          loft insulation

>          draughtproofing

>          cavity wall insulation

>          hot water tank insulation

>          gas, electric, liquid petroleum gas or oil heating

The tighter criteria mean the scheme is now targeted at people on certain income-related benefits living in properties that are poorly insulated and/or do not have a working central heating system. You must own your home or rent it from a private landlord and the scheme is only available in England.

You will automatically be eligible if you claim Pension Credit or Income related ESA that includes a work-related component. If you claim Income Support, income based JSA or you are in the assessment phase of ESA you will only be eligible if you also have

> a pensioner premium or;

> a disability or severe disability premium, or;

> an award of child tax credit that also includes an element for a disabled,  or severely disabled child or young person, or;

> a child under the age of five living with you

You can apply for the scheme online, by post, or by phone on 0800 316 6004.

*to spend on heating and energy efficiency products. Not on fags.


  • R T.
    So the British Gas doorstepper who told me I would qualify for free cavity wall and loft insulation despite me telling him repeatedly that I was not receiving any benefits was, as I suspected, lying? Not that it mattered as they didn't turn up on the day to do the checks anyway.
  • Mike H.
    Ofcourse, you do know that people exploit things that are free? Or at a reduced rate? Fucks sake.
  • Kevin
    The government should just send out woolly jumpers.
  • Tom
    If you did that the Wool Jumper Makers union would take the government to court.
  • jsoap
    @RJTysoe Nope he was telling the truth, the energy cos have been told to piss away £5B (thats billion) on whatever they think will reduce the nations energy usage. That's why I have 20 low energy bulbs that I'll never use, and why garages are filled with 'cheap' loft insulation and eBay is awash with expensive energy monitors, going cheap.
  • Mr H.
    Warmfront is a great con paid for by us taxpayers. Quoted works are always for the maximum grant availible, there's no competition and smaller contractors are unable to complete works as its all kept in house for the old boys...
  • LD
    "The Warm Front scheme is only available in England."
  • Wilko
    Really? So we actually get something free in England that the Jocks don't get? Halelujah (or whatever)!!!!
  • william r.
    hi there i looking to see if u need surveyors for the gloucester area if your am i can do it for for central heating thnx
  • Caroline H.
    I applied for the warm front heating, when visited for inspection was told I could only have night storage heaters, I explained that I could not afford to run them due to debts, I tried to use them but ended up deeper in debt due to cost of running, we have had three cold winters, my 3 children and I have to keep coats on in the house, I have since found out that its policy for the fitters to talk you into the night storage heaters as these can be fitted in one day so bigger profits for the instaler regardless of the fact they cost a fortune to use, I know they was free and should be greatful but feel cheated and put deeper in debt by this instalation
  • STL
    Free central heating and free boiler grants available atSTL

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