Thursday, 23 April 2009 12:00 AM
Thousands of people will benefit from warmer homes from today as the government revealed plans for extra funding to be poured into the Warm Front scheme.
The grant maxima are to rise to £3500 for homes with a gas network supply, previously £2700, and to £6000 for off gas network homes, previously £4000. It is hoped that this will eliminate the need for top up funding, where the work being done exceeds that of the grant, which has been cause for concern.
Maria Wardrobe, director of communications at National Energy Action, said: "National Energy Action (NEA) welcomes improvements to the Warm Front Scheme announced today by the Government.
"NEA has been lobbying for some time for an increase in grant levels and the rise in the maximum grant to £6,000 for harder-to-treat properties off the gas network is particularly welcome.
"NEA is increasingly concerned about the impact of fuel poverty in rural areas - some 2.7m households in England alone have no access to gas network and often rely on expensive oil-based systems for heating.
"We are also pleased to see the scope of the scheme is being expanded to include the installation of low carbon technologies such as solar thermal heating and air source heat pumps, initially as pilots.
"We think both these technologies could be vital tools in the fight against fuel poverty - a problem that blights the lives of more than 5.4m households across the UK.
"NEA is pleased the maximum Warm Front grant for properties on the gas grid is to rise to £3,500, helping those households who often need to pay a top up to the current grant to enable work to be carried out."
Yesterday, NEA also welcomed measures announced in the chancellor's budget to build a greener economy - particularly his pledge to fund £100m for insulation improvements in social housing through the decent homes programme and the extra £70m for small scale community energy programmes. The announcement that the Winter Fuel Allowance will be extended for another year was also welcomed by NEA.