In the Autumn, the government promised one off payments of £100, later doubled to £200 by the chancellor, to the two million families who rely on more expensive oil or other fuels to heat their homes, but millions of rural households are still waiting for emergency fuel payments and there is still no detail on how or when the payments will be made.
With many rural homes not on the mains gas network, relying on oil for heating, bills are soaring and there is no energy price cap to protect oil consumers from unaffordable costs.
Community groups warn that delays to the 'Alternative Fuel Payment' are putting lives at risk as households can’t afford to put the heating on despite sub-zero temperatures.
Andrew Northcott, from Cumbria Action for Sustainability, told ITV News that "these older, rural properties tend to have much higher energy costs and keeping walls dry in the winter is a real challenge.
A couple of hundred pounds from the government to help households that are off gas is a help, but is it really enough? What needs to happen is for these buildings to be retrofitted and provide some substantial insulation".
Citizens Advice has warned that referrals for crisis support for pensioners have soared by 137% since 2020 due to the cost of living crisis.
Citizens Advice are members of the Rural Services Network. You can find out more about them here and more about Citizens Advice here.
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