MP urges those in ‘fuel poverty’ to seek help with bills

Michael Dugher, Barnsley East MP, urged people living in cold homes in the Borough to seek help with their fuel bills.

He said many people living in fuel poverty this winter were unaware of the support they could receive to assist with the cost of heating their homes.

An estimated 189,400 households in South Yorkshire get the annual Winter Fuel Payment of £100 to £300 to help the elderly with their energy costs – an allowance introduced by Labour in 1997.

But Mr Dugher warned that, due to the “broken energy market”, some people would turn off their heating because they feared they could not afford the bills this winter – even though help could be available from their energy supplier.

According to a survey carried out by poverty charity Turn2us, more than half of those quizzed (53%) were unaware that many energy suppliers offered help to some customers, particularly those on low incomes.

And, two-thirds (66%) were not aware that some energy suppliers have charitable trusts to help certain customers struggling with their fuel costs.

Mr Dugher backed the Turn2us charity’s “No Cold Homes” campaign to raise awareness of the help available and urged people in Barnsley to see if they could benefit from the various schemes.

He said: Far too many people in Barnsley live in fuel poverty and simply cannot afford to turn on the heating as often as they need.

Thanks to our broken energy market, they are forced to live in cold homes and it is often  the elderly and the most vulnerable who are the hardest hit.

I would urge people to see what help is available with their fuel bills. Friends and family can help by checking on their relatives and neighbours to see what assistance might be available for them.”

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