Highland Council’s Fuel Support Fund Heralded a Success
Thousands of Highland households are benefiting from the Council’s local fuel support scheme which was launched in the latter part of January 2021.
Using Covid-19 funding from the Scottish Government, this non-repayable grant provides a £60 payment per household for those who have been awarded council tax reduction and are having difficulties paying their fuel bills. There is also a discretionary element to the grant to enable payments to be made in some other circumstances. In the initial 3-week period of this important scheme, the Council received more than 4,500 applications and worked at pace to ensure this financial support quickly reached households.
At today’s Corporate Resources Committee, elected members welcomed this local fuel support fund and agreed to extend this help to March. Members also welcomed the number of households who opted to take advantage of energy health checks provided by Citizens Advice across the Highlands and praised Council staff for the speed of implementation and efficient ongoing administration of this fund.
Councillor Matthew Reiss, Vice Chair of the Corporate Resources said: “There has been a tremendous response from across the Highlands for this important fuel support grant. This £60 grant was put in place to help mitigate the costs of winter and the growing pressures on family incomes and finances, increasing unemployment and the uncertainty that lies ahead. Today’s decision means that the Council will automatically make these March payments, increasing the total grant payment to £120. The scheme will also remain open for new applications to ensure that this support can still be accessed.
“So far, 5,400 households have applied for this fuel support and application forms continue to be received. Of that, 900 have opted for a home energy health check from their local Citizens Advice. These energy health checks are so important as the energy expertise within Citizens Advice means that the help that is available for individual households is identified and accessed. This includes energy switching, reducing fuel bills and obtaining grants to improve the fuel efficiency of individual homes.”
Applications for this fuel support fund can be made online via the Council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/fuelsupportfund or by calling the Council’s Welfare Support Team on 0800 090 1004 so that they can complete an application over the phone.