Just 12% of people eligible for free insulation grants from their energy companies are taking up the offer, new research has revealed.
A survey by the New Policy Institute found that there are 5.2m households across the UK that could claim the grants, which would save them around £260 a year on their energy bills.
Yet the research, commissioned by the Home Heat Helpline, found that 47% of those surveyed who had not claimed thought that the assistance was not meant for ‘people like me’; 64% of those eligible either didn’t feel they qualified for assistance or were not sure; and 31% of those aged under 70 and on benefits said they were too embarrassed to claim.
And almost half (45%) of those surveyed believed that the help won’t save much money.
Regionally, the NPI found people living in South Wales or on the south coast of England are the most likely to be eligible for energy help. Four of the 10 local authorities with the highest number of eligible claimants are in South Wales – Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly and Neath Port Talbot – and five are English coastal resorts – Torbay, Tendring, West Somerset, Thanet and Christchurch. All of these areas have a high number of elderly residents.