MPs ask for heating scheme to be extended during COVID-19 lockdown

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A GROUP of Liberal Democrat, Labour, SNP and Green MPs have written to Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma urging for a home heating scheme to be expanded for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown.

Signed by 28 MPs including Labour’s Karl Turner, Yasmin Qureshi, Gareth Thomas, Jon Cruddas and Sarah Owen plus the SNP’s Allen Dorans, Neale Harvey, Owen Thompson and Angus McNeil, the letter demands expansion to the Warm Home Discount scheme from pensioners to anyone suffering from fuel poverty.

The Warm Home Discount, introduced in 2011, provides a one-off credit of £140 towards the energy bills.

The motion to send the letter was launched by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse.

Ms Hobhouse told PoliticsHome: “No-one should ever have to choose between heating their home or eating, let alone in the face of the current health crisis.

“It is essential that the Government takes action to ensure no one is forced to do so.

“The Government already offers a Warm Home Discount on fuel to the poorest pensioners.

“Extending this to all those who meet the current definition for fuel poverty – some 2.5 million households – would make an enormous difference to thousands, including many families with children.”

According to Politicshome, the letter to Mr Sharma states: “We are calling for the extension of the Warm Home Discount scheme for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

“The scheme should be extended to all households that fall into the government definition of fuel poverty.

“Offering this support will provide families who are currently struggling in the face of the coronavirus with much needed relief on their energy bills.

“But we must also go further. Your government has missed several opportunities to help reduce the 10% of households in England (around 2.5 million) currently in fuel poverty.

“Once this crisis is over your government must bring forward the long overdue plans for improving the energy efficiency of homes across the country.

“We need to give those in fuel poverty some relief now by extending the Warm Home Discount scheme to all those households and then your government must act to help lift those families out of fuel poverty permanently.

“We hope you will listen to our calls and we will be happy to discuss our ideas with you in more detailed.”