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Cost of living crisis: Winter fuel grant in Wales to double

LOW income households in Wales feeling the pinch from rising bills are to benefit from a doubling of the winter fuel grant.

The Welsh Government said the Winter Fuel Support Scheme payment will be increased from £100 to £200 as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies.

The grants are part of a £51 million package of targeted support for families and the most vulnerable across Wales.

There are growing concerns about cost-of-living pressures due to soaring energy bills and an impending 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance from April to fund extra health spending.

The energy price cap is due to rise in the spring, possibly increasing bills by 50 per cent, according to predictions.

The ballooning gas costs also come with household budgets stretched by inflation, which jumped to a near 30-year high of 5.4 per cent in December.

When the scheme was originally announced in December, the Welsh Government said 350,000 households would benefit.

Local authorities will process the applications and to be eligible one member of the household must be in receipt of certain benefits.

Jane Hutt, minister for social justice, said: “Right across Wales, people are seeing their bills rise and wages are being stretched like never before; from energy bills, to prices at the pumps and the costs of everyday essentials.

“We know some people are facing the incredibly difficult decision about whether they heat or eat. We’re in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, which is getting worse.

“Our £51 million Household Support Fund targeted support at families across Wales. We know these initiatives are working and making a real difference to the lives of low income households.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce we’re going to extend support to households by doubling the Winter Fuel Support Scheme payment.”

People have until the end of February to apply for a grant. Those who have already received a £100 payment will automatically receive a further £100 payment in the coming weeks.

Ms Hutt added: “We are determined to do all we can to support our people with the bills they are facing, and this will go a long way to do just that.

“I want to pay tribute to our local authorities for swiftly processing these payments. We all know they’ve been under tremendous pressure during the pandemic – time and again, they have stepped up to the plate and delivered for our communities.

“This additional £100 increase will go some way to helping the most vulnerable in our society to pay their fuel bills during this difficult time and I’m determined to do all we can to continue to support the people of Wales through the cost of living crisis.”

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