Reading’s Household Support Scheme is here to help you stay warm this winter – Reading Today Online

By Cllr Jason Brock

This week we have yet another Prime Minister.

Political parties aside for a moment, I really hope the government is now able to tackle the serious problems facing our country.

I don’t have much hope, I’m afraid.

The feuds at Westminster – and perhaps especially the internal dysfunctions of the party – can seem far removed from our daily lives.

It would be easy for me to gloat behind my Labor membership, but the crisis in our government has real consequences for the people of Reading who are now facing higher mortgages, the threat of rent increases, rising inflation and public services to breaking point.

In day-to-day life, rising bills make it difficult for many of us to manage, especially the cost of heating the home with the cold winter months coming.

Elsewhere you may have seen details of our household support scheme which we have promoted to help low income people around Reading through the provision of energy and cost of living vouchers as well as financial support for community organizations helping neighborhood residents. through the city.

We will continue to work to ensure that this program benefits as many people as possible, but we also know that broader actions with strategic objectives are necessary.

This is especially true for helping people in the longer term and thinking beyond just offering acute crisis relief now.

Many of you may be wondering how energy efficient your home is and whether some changes could help you use less gas and electricity to control your bills.

If so, I would strongly encourage you to apply for our Sustainable Heat scheme which we have just launched, with £1.7m in grants available.

With this, eligible residents can get a range of energy efficient upgrades that will require them to pay nothing at all, either before or after the work.

To qualify for free home improvements, properties must have an EPC rating of D, E, F or G – which can be checked here: www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate. If a property does not have an EPC, residents can still apply.

Applicants must also have a total annual family income of less than £30,000 (or less than £20,000 after rent/mortgage costs) or be in receipt of certain means-tested benefits.

Private owners are also eligible for the program, although they will have to contribute one-third of the cost of the works.

I sincerely hope that landlords recognize the need to do good with their tenants and treat them with dignity and respect rather than just as an opportunity to make money.

If a home and household are eligible, available options include improved insulation and ventilation to reduce bills and improve comfort, solar panels to generate electricity for the home, upgrades energy-efficient lighting to cut costs and improved heating controls to help save money and reduce unnecessary energy consumption.

The grant can be up to £10,000 for a gas-heated home. For houses not heated by gas (and rather by electricity or oil, for example), the subsidy is decreasing from £10,000 to £25,000 each.

There are no pitfalls, so you have nothing to lose by applying. You can find out more about the scheme, which is brought to the Council by our partner City Energy, by visiting reading.gov.uk/SustainableWarmth where there is also a link to City Energy’s application page.

Alternatively, you can check if you are eligible and apply directly to City Energy at www.berkshire-applications.co.uk, by emailing [email protected]or by calling them on: 029 2168 0951.

If you are not eligible but are on a low income and are over 60, have very young children, or have a disability or health condition, you may still qualify for assistance from our Winter Watch team with home energy checks, advice on your bills, insulation and exclusion project and emergency support to keep warm.

If you need help and think you might be entitled to it, you can contact us on 0118 937 3747 or email [email protected]

Don’t suffer in silence, help is available. Our Money Matters website – reading.gov.uk/money-matters – brings together all the information and advice we have to help you manage the cost of living increases over the coming months, including a benefits checker and information on managing your health and well-being. -being.

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