Jo gives support as campaign for winter warmth hots up


The Warm Homes Campaign: help is available for those feeling the winter cold

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 Jo Swinson MP is sending a warm message to constituents this winter as part of the national Warm Homes Campaign, encouraging them to find out what help is available to make their homes warmer and to cut fuel bills.

The Warm Homes Campaign is an annual winter campaign organised by fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland in association with energy supplier Powergen. The campaign aims to reduce the number of people living in cold, damp homes, as well as helping to cut fuel bills. It also wants to reduce cold-related illnesses by raising awareness of the help available to people who cannot afford to heat their homes in winter.

In East Dunbartonshire, 2002 figures suggest that almost 9,000 people live in ‘fuel poverty’ – this means they spend 10% or more of their income on fuel costs. However, due to substantial increases in fuel prices in the past three years, this figure is now likely to have passed 13,000.

Jo Swinson MP said:

“At this time of year, effective heating is a necessity. Living without a working heating system means facing a difficult winter, while for vulnerable members of society there are serious health risks associated with cold, damp living conditions. Further, meeting the cost of increasing fuel bills can be a struggle.

“It is therefore very important that those in need know help is available – and know where to get it. The Central Heating Programme and the Warm Deal can provide information and advice, and can be contacted on 0800 072 0150.

“I applaud the Warm Homes Campaign for its efforts to spread warmth throughout homes this winter. My message to constituents is this – do not suffer in silence and do not put your health at risk because of poor heating. Use the help that is available and enjoy a warm and comfortable festive period.”

There are among 60 Members of the Scottish Parliament, MPs and Welsh Assembly Members around Britain supporting the Warm Homes Campaign by letting constituents know how energy efficiency measures can provide affordable warmth and spell the end of cold, damp homes.

In Scotland, older people can apply for central heating systems and insulation through the Scottish Executive-funded Central Heating Programme and those on low incomes can apply for insulation and draught-proofing from the Executive’s Warm Deal scheme. The work is then carried out by local installer companies. The houses treated are expected to be much warmer and more comfortable and the constituents’ fuel bills could also benefit.

Norman Kerr, Director, Energy Action Scotland commented:

“For many people winter brings poor health, isolation, debt and worry – but help is available. During the Warm Homes Campaign we will be highlighting this and asking the Scottish Executive and the UK Government to provide greater resources to tackle fuel poverty and protect householders from rapidly rising energy prices.”

The Warm Deal and the Central Heating Programme are the primary sources of grants from the Scottish Executive for energy efficiency improvements to those on low incomes or who are elderly. Warm Deal offers insulation to those on a range of state benefits. The Central Heating Programme provides a central heating system and insulation for those without them and aged over 60 in the private sector and for all in the social rented sector. For more information about Warm Deal call freephone 0800 072 0150 and for the Central Heating Programme call freephone 0800 316 1653. Tenants of local authorities or housing associations should contact their landlord.

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