Save heat and money

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WINTER proof your home now to save both heat and money through the cold months...help may be free!

That is the message from Wentworth and Dearne Valley MP John Healey to constituents, in the face of ever increasing costs for energy.

With vast numbers of people facing the ‘heat or eat’ dilemma this winter, Mr Healey points out that one in every four pounds spent on heating our homes is wasted due to lack of insulation.

Yet over six million cavity walls are unfilled and 10 million lofts unlagged.

The MP said:“If people take action and get the free energy efficiency that they are entitled to, they can save hundreds of pounds every year”.

British Gas offers to insulate homes for free if customers apply before December 22. People on lower incomes, whoever their supplier is, can call a special helpline to see if they are eligible for free insulation or discounted bills (the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 980 8177).

Mr Healey also urges constituents to winter-proof their finances by applying for benefits they are entitled to. Again, one if four pounds of benefits available go unclaimed – a staggering £12.7 billion a year. The largest pots available are income support; pension credit; housing benefit; council tax benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance. But there are many other benefits, including a new Warm Homes Discount, which will give every person on pension credit an energy bill rebate of £120.

“With more than 50 government benefits available, it can be an a minefield for anyone trying to claim what is actually legally theirs,” the MP warned. “Charities such as Citizens’ Advice and Age UK are able to talk you through what you may be eligible for and even apply on your behalf – I would urge people to give them a call or drop in to a centre.”

John Healey recently met with charities at an Open Day at the House of Commons, where he discussed what support was available for stretched household budgets. He recommends a very helpful online Benefit Check tool from the charity Turn2Us: http://www.turn2us.org.uk/benefits_search.aspx