Council launches hew fund to help heat Angus homes

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A new £400,000 scheme has been launched to help Angus householders heat their home this winter, with funding from the Scottish Government.

Administered by Angus Council, the Angus HeatWell scheme is being delivered with cash from Local Authority Covid-19 Economic Recovery (LACER) funding in response to the rising fuel prices.

In February the Scottish Government allocated £80 million to empower councils to consider the needs of local businesses, communities and households, and to target support to help local economies.

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Deputy First Minister John Swinney said that the HeatWell scheme can make a difference to those struggling to heat their homes this winter and help address the pressures facing local residents.

The Angus HeatWell scheme will make £400,000 available to help householders this winter.The Angus HeatWell scheme will make £400,000 available to help householders this winter.
The Angus HeatWell scheme will make £400,000 available to help householders this winter.

He continued: “We know how difficult the cost of living crisis is for households across Scotland and we will continue to do everything within our resources and powers to help those most affected. We have continually urged the UK Government to use all the powers and financial flexibility at its disposal to tackle this emergency on the scale required.”

The Angus Heatwell financial assistance scheme is open to householders with prepayment meters, direct debit accounts and oil accounts, and is being delivered by north-east charity Scarf on the council’s behalf.

The scheme can provide, subject to eligibility, £147 of fuel vouchers to single occupancy households, or £294 of fuel vouchers to households with families of two or more. This is subject to further eligibility criteria, including total household income and receipt of benefits.

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It is anticipated that more than 1300 households will benefit from the programme.

Councillor George Meechan, the Council’s spokesman for Welfare Rights, Poverty and Equality said: “This important scheme won’t solve the problem on its own, but it will at least provide some households with a buffer and ensure that our under-pressure citizens are able to put their heating on for warmth and comfort.”

To apply for assistance, go to Scarf’s Grants and Funding page for householders, or call freephone 0808 129 0888 (Mon-Fri 9am to 4.30pm) where callers will be taken through the application process or arrange a home visit.

David Mackay, co-chief executive of Scarf, said the fuel poverty gap in Angus before the Covid-19 outbreak was £760 and advised that this will only have increased due to national lockdowns during the pandemic.

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He said: “The financial impact of Covid-19 has been made substantially worse with the energy crisis that has impacted households since April. As a frontline advice service we are witnessing first-hand the difficulties householders are facing, with further price increases this October and again early next year.

“Financial support like this new HeatWell programme can make a substantial difference to a household’s energy spend and general budget.”