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Councils across the North East are trying to make sure home occupiers are aware of government grants that will enab...
Councils across the North East are trying to make sure home occupiers are aware of government grants that will enable them to make their properties more energy efficient, following changes just introduced by the government which could rule some people out.

Easington is one such council which is doing its best to make people aware of what they are entitled to. It has already drawn up a list of some 10,000 tenants and elderly people, which it feels will qualify for extra help. Other councils are taking the same approach across the region.

But the council says there is still a large number of privately owned homes which could be losing out, because homeowners are not aware of what help is available, or how they may qualify.

It was four years ago when the government launched a scheme designed to provide financial help towards certain energy efficient improvements. These include the fitting or topping up of loft insulation, fitting draught proofing strips around windows and doors, lagging hot water tanks and giving energy advice.

Since then many thousands of people have taken up the scheme. Most have had the work done for free. Occupiers of larger properties have had to pay a small contribution towards the work. Until now all households claiming benefit (eg income support, housing benefit etc) and the over 60's have been eligible to apply for help. Grants can be as much as £300 to cover the cost of improvements.

But from March 31 only those on income support and benefits will be eligible for help - those over 60 will be means- tested before they know if they will be eligible.

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