Call to action to ensure winter fuel assistance program benefits as many households as possible

Politicians have called for changes to be made to the winter fuel assistance scheme before the fall to ensure the payment reaches as many eligible households as possible.

They also called on the Welsh Government to widen the eligibility of the payment to reach more vulnerable and low-income households in need, such as those eligible for pension credit, and to launch a public awareness campaign on the scheme. Winter Fuel Aid to Improve Awareness and Drive Adoption.

Speaking during the opposition debate on the Winter Fuels Support Scheme, North Wales, MS Mark Isherwood, who is chair of the Senedd Cross-Party Group on Energy Poverty and Efficiency, pointed out that the Welsh Government would not have been able to increase its winter fuel. Scheme without the follow-on funding provided by the UK Government and highlighted the need for as many eligible households to benefit.

He said: “National Energy Action, NEA Cymru, has requested that payment for the Winter Fuel Support Scheme be made in the fall, so households know they have the funds before they turn on their heating. .

“The minister has previously said she would like the payment to be available by October, if not September.

“Hence our amendment, which ‘further asks the Welsh Government to ensure that any changes to the Winter Fuel Support Scheme are made before the autumn to ensure the payment reaches as many eligible households as possible’. Can the Minister confirm if this is still her intention?

He added:

“Age Cymru has asked the Welsh Government to extend the eligibility criteria for the Winter Fuel Aid scheme to include older people in receipt of pension credit.

“The Minister has previously said the Welsh Government will extend eligibility and will seek ‘not just in terms of pension credit, but broader eligibility’.

“Hence our amendment ‘further calls on the Welsh Government to widen the eligibility of the winter fuel payment to reach more vulnerable low-income households in need, such as those eligible for pension credit’. The Minister can provide an update accordingly?

“We understand that at the end of January, the take-up rate for the program had been relatively low, with variations between local authorities. “We also need to raise awareness that non-gas households, using fuel oil or LPG, are eligible for the program if they are connected to the electricity grid. “Our amendment therefore calls on the Welsh Government to ‘launch a public awareness campaign on the Winter Fuel Assistance Scheme to improve awareness and drive uptake of the scheme’.”

Mr Isherwood also highlighted the need to provide fuel bill support to people who are hosts under the Homes for Ukraine Wales programme.

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