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Monday, November 13, 2017

People left without heating due to spending cuts, says fuel poverty group

Health of low-income households at risk as funding cuts slash support for replacing and repairing boilers, pressure group warns.

No gas boilers have been repaired since April under a government scheme intended to combat fuel poverty, as a result of spending cuts that risk leaving poorer Britons unprotected from the cold at home, according to a fuel poverty pressure group.

National Energy Action (NEA), which obtained the figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said the drop in official support via the energy company obligation (ECO) threatens the health of low-income households. Peter Smith, NEA's director of policy, said: "This leaves thousands of people with existing medical conditions facing a winter without any effective space heating or hot water."

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Consumers fund the ECO through their energy bills, but its annual budget has been cut from £800m to £640m as part of government attempts to reduce bills. The scheme's spending has been concentrated on replacing a small number of faulty boilers, rather than repairing them.

But the number of replacement boilers being installed through the ECO programme has fallen from a high of 85,000 in 2013 to a low of 7,000 between April and June this year. No gas boilers have been repaired since April.

Read the full story at The Guardian