Mid Ulster District Council is urging local people to respond to an on-going consultation on the government’s ‘Affordable Warmth Scheme’ which will bring ‘largely positive’ benefits.
The scheme, which is part of an overall strategy to address fuel poverty and is funded via the Department for Communities, aims to improve energy efficiency in people’s homes and to reduce energy consumption through a range of measures, including boiler replacement.
The four proposals are:
- that one installer managing the installation of all measures to the household is the preferred delivery method
- raising the income threshold to £23,000 for households with more than one adult and reducing it to £18,000 for all single person households
- that Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carer’s Allowance are not included in the calculation of income for the Affordable Warmth Scheme;
- the removal of the additional boiler replacement criteria of a member of the household being over 65 or having a child under 16 years of age, or being in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.
The Council is broadly supportive of the proposals as Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Ronan McGinley, explained:
“Many of the proposals are to be welcomed and overall the scheme will be largely positive, particularly where the income threshold is to be raised and certain benefits are to be excluded from the calculation, as these measures should broaden the opportunities for more people to avail of the scheme and to reduce the level of fuel poverty.
“Our one concern centres on the suggestion that one installer should manage every aspect of a home’s improvements, as this will effectively push small local businesses out of the market and potentially slow down delivery of the scheme.
“This is exactly the kind of consultation which can make a real and tangible difference to some of the most vulnerable members of our community and I would encourage local people to take the time to give their views”.
The ‘Affordable Warmth Scheme consultation closes on 16 February 2018 and more details are available here: https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/news/consultation-launched-proposed-changes-affordable-warmth-scheme