Householders in Angus with prepayment meters, direct debit accounts, and oil accounts could benefit from financial assistance, thanks to HeatWell, a new scheme to be delivered by Scarf on behalf of Angus Council.
The Scottish Government Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, John Swinney MSP, recently announced the £80m Local Authority Covid-19 Economic Recovery (LACER) fund to support local economic recovery and provide additional income for low-income households. Angus Council was allocated £1.672m and the social enterprise has successfully secured £400,000 of the funding from Angus Council to 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 occupants.
Access to vouchers is subject to further eligibility criteria, including total household income and receipt of benefits. It is anticipated that over 1,300 households will benefit from the Scottish Government-funded programme.
David Mackay, Co-Chief Executive of Scarf, said: “The fuel poverty gap in Angus before the Covid-19 outbreak was £760 but this will have increased due to the national lockdowns put in place during the pandemic. 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 looming both in 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.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Our £80 million Covid Economic Recovery Fund, launched in February, empowers councils to consider the needs of local businesses, communities and households, and to target support to help local economies.
“The HeatWell scheme in Angus can make a difference to those struggling to heat their homes this winter and help address the pressures facing local residents.
“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.”
Scarf has distributed over £600,000 worth of fuel vouchers in the previous 12 months alone through various funding programmes throughout the North East. Their team of advisors offering over-the-phone and in-home advice will supplement the HeatWell scheme to provide further support, helping households reduce their energy use longer term.
Applications for the scheme can be made on the Grants and Funding section of our website.