Government Announces £67m Home Upgrade Grant
The UK government is launching a new £67 million energy efficient grant scheme to tackle fuel poverty. Its aim is to help those in low-income homes upgrade their insulation and install lower-carbon heating, with the hopes of getting this done ahead of the energy price cap increase in April.
What is the Home Upgrade Grant scheme?
Announced back in February 2021, the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) scheme was part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) plan to tackle fuel poverty.
The scheme aims to provide funding to local authorities, which will then ask households to book in a free replacement of their heating system, as well as wall and roof insulation.
The money will be provided to 22 local authorities, with BEIS saying it will improve up to 4,300 low income, off-gas grid households, saving each one around £200 a year. These are the top-priority households that are ranked as Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band D or lower.
Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said: “This is just the first round of the £950 million funding we have committed over the next three years and will ensure we help those most in need. It will keep more money in people’s pockets, at the same time as making homes warmer, more comfortable and greener.”
Why is the Home Upgrade Grant scheme important?
The introduction of the HUG scheme comes off the back of ministers facing pressure to take a harder look at the role of energy efficiency. Many have rightly voiced that the role of energy efficiency could help shield society’s most vulnerable from the ongoing energy price crisis.
With the recent energy price cap announcement, which is set to be introduced in April, the average household will see that their energy bills increase by an eye-watering £693 to £1,971. The jump is the highest the price cap has even been since its introduction back in 2019, with experts warning that this rise will treble the number of those in fuel poverty.
This is why the HUG scheme is important. Any savings on the cost of energy is a welcome sign to counteract the recent price hikes. It is a crucial first step in alleviating the problem, albeit only a small improvement to the crisis. Nonetheless this is still a positive first step, especially so as many have discussed the idea of whether energy efficiency taking priority over a price cap is the better solution to truly help households save money on their energy bills.
Other support schemes worth looking at
The new energy efficient grant scheme is good news and is a good first step. But even if this scheme does not directly affect you, there are still a host of other support schemes out there to help with paying your energy bills. Below are few of the main one you can look into.
The Winter Fuel Payment is a payment that will vary between £100 - £300 depending on your personal circumstances. It is a tax-free, one-off payment given by the government to the elderly to help them pay for their energy bills in the winter.
The Warm House Discount is a given by the government to help low-income households pay for their energy bills. It comes in the form of a one-off discount.
The Cold Winter Payment is a government special fund to help those most vulnerable pay for their energy bills in the winter.
Fuel Direct is a scheme to help individuals reduce any further poverty or debt. The government scheme is there to help people pay off energy debt directly from any benefit they receive.
And you may have already heard of all the usual advice on practical energy saving tips, but here’s a small recap of some of the things you can do to save some money on your energy bills:
Switching off your electric appliances that are not in use can save around £55 a year. Make sure it is fully switched off and not in standby mode.
Draught-proofing all doors and windows can save you around £200 a year. Look for the main culprits and close them up – chimneys, around doors, and windows.
Switching off your lights when they are not in use can save around £20 a year. Even better, you can even replace your lights with LED bulbs to save a bit more.
Reducing the temperate of your washing machine to a 30-degree cycle, and even reduce how many times you use it, can save you around £28 a year.
For more ideas on how to save money on your energy bills – click here.
Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.