Jon Hubbard

Liberal Democrat Wiltshire Councillor for Melksham South and Town Councillor for Melksham Spa Learn more

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Millions are still missing out on free help from energy companies

by Jon Hubbard on 9 December, 2010

New research commissioned by the Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99) has revealed that despite the hard economic times and the arrival of the Arctic weather conditions, millions of people are still missing out on free help with their energy bills because they don’t think the help being offered is meant for people like them,.

According to the research, there are 5.2 million households across the country that could claim free insulation grants from their energy companies, but despite the fact that people could typically save £260 a year on their energy bills, only 12% have actually claimed free help.

With so many people missing out, the Home Heat Helpline, which is a free service to help people struggling to keep warm, commissioned the NPI think tank to research why more people aren’t claiming and what could be done to get them to do so. The NPI found that one of the biggest barriers is that while 70% of people believe you should claim help if you really need it, they don’t think the help available is intended for them.

The main findings of the poll for NPI by YouGov showed that:

  • Around half (47%) of those surveyed who had not claimed thought that the assistance on offer was not meant for ‘people like me’
  • Two thirds (64%) of those definitely eligible, when asked, either didn’t feel they qualified for assistance or were not sure
  • Despite widespread accusations of a “claimant culture” in Britain, most people display a highly responsible attitude towards claiming, with a massive 70% saying you should only claim help if you really need it

Surprisingly, the traditional British “stiff upper lip” is only a problem for a small minority. Only one in five (22%) say they don’t believe in asking for help and even fewer (19%) say they find it embarrassing to ask for assistance People under the age of 70 receiving social security benefits, which includes those most in need of help, were the most likely to say they were too embarrassed to claim. A third (31%) of under 70s on benefits said they were too embarrassed, compared to 15% of over 70s

Whilst almost half (45%) of those surveyed believed that the help won’t save much money, the Home Heat Helpline is hoping that the £260 saving from household energy bills (simply by taking advantage of the free insulation available) could prove a strong incentive this winter. And as a result of these findings, the NPI and the Home Heat Helpline are urging the British public to see the aid available as an entitlement, rather than help which they need.

For free advice on how to save on your energy bills, ring the Home Heat Helpline on 0800336699

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