Brentwood, United Kingdom (PressExposure) December 22, 2009 -- The budget for the Warm Front scheme which offers grants for home energy efficiency upgrades is set to be slashed by almost 50% from Â£369 million to Â£195 million over the next two years and waiting times for the grants will increase from the current 50 days to six months.
Warm Front offers grants usually up to Â£3500, although they can be as much as Â£6000 in some cases where renewable energy or low carbon initiatives are used. The grants are used to insulate the home and modernise heating systems so that energy bills are cut. Those over 60 claiming means tested benefits can apply, as can families with children under 16 and in some cases, those on disablement benefits.
Speaking on the BBC's Money Box programme, Derek Lickorish, chairman of the Government's Fuel Poverty Advisory Group said: "Instead of the 215,000 households assisted in this financial year it will be down to around 90,000 in the next. Those who have applied will see waiting times increase significantly and those who apply in future will be declined."
"Government should put weight behind Equity Release"
The cuts could lead to vulnerable older people being unable to make vital, money saving improvements to their homes which could mean increased energy bills and as a result, a lower standard of living. Geoff Charles of award winning equity release specialists Bower Retirement Services says, "More Government cuts leading to even more chilling news for the retired population; yet the Government still doesn't put weight behind one of the most obvious solutions that could see pensioners enjoying a far better standard of living: equity release."