Warm Home Discount rule change torn apart in new poll | Personal Finance | Finance

The Warm Home Discount (WHD) provides low-income households with an additional £150 to help towards their energy bills during the winter. However, thousands of Britons will miss out due to Government changes to eligibility criteria. A new Express.co.uk poll has found that three-quarters of readers would support a return to the old system.

To qualify for the WHD Britons must be in receipt of a means-tested benefit or tax credits as well as living in a property with a “high energy cost score based on its characteristics”. As a result, many pensioners and vulnerable people who live in flats, bungalows, small houses or newer properties will not receive the WHD.

The Government updated the criteria last spring but the seasonality of the lifeline means many households are only now finding out about the removal of the lifeline they were expecting. 

Qualifying households in England and Wales will automatically receive the WHD alongside a letter, while those in Scotland will have to apply.

In February 2022 then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the WHD would increase from £140 to £150 as part of additional support to help Britons manage spiralling energy bills. But thousands are now missing out.

READ MORE: Pensioner can’t afford heating after losing Warm Home Discount

In a poll that ran from 12:30pm on Tuesday, January 24, to 3pm on Thursday, January 26, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should the Government U-turn on changes to the Warm Home Discount criteria?”

A total of 11,007 people responded with the vast majority, 75 per cent (755 people) answering “yes” in favour of the Government U-turning on the WHD criteria.

Meanwhile, 23 per cent (230 people) said “no” the new criteria should stand, and a further two per cent (22 people) said they did not know either way.

Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on the changes to the WHD.

However, other readers thought the Government should not return to the previous criteria, with username LG47 writing: “So, those in energy-efficient homes or without large energy bills…won’t get it. And what is wrong with that?”

And username handsome said: “No, they should just order the energy suppliers to put the prices down to what they were.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy claimed that more Britons will be able to benefit from the WHD this winter as a result of the eligibility changes. A spokesperson said: “Our reforms mean that more households in fuel poverty will benefit from the Warm Home Discount than ever before.

“An extra 780,000 pensioners and low-income families will benefit this year compared to last and it is awarded according to people’s financial circumstances.”

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