HUNTINGDONSHIRE District Council is likely to spend only £85,000 in the current year on improving insulation for vulnerable people living in privately-owned accommodation – barely a quarter of the available cash. The council blames the weather for the lac
HUNTINGDONSHIRE District Council is likely to spend only £85,000 in the current year on improving insulation for vulnerable people living in privately-owned accommodation - barely a quarter of the available cash.
The council blames the weather for the lack of applications so far. "It just hasn't been cold enough yet," said HDC's energy efficiency officer Julia Blackwell.
Up to £327,000 was available for bringing the private-sector homes of people on income-related or disability-related benefits up to what is known as a "decent" standard. The council, which has just received an additional £167,000 grant, decided tackling poor insulation should be its priority.
HDC estimated that the original money would improve up to 1,000 homes, but it is now expecting to have to spend the money over a period of years because of slow take-up since work began in September.
"We are trying to catch some people who might be excluded from other schemes but, even though we have kept the application form short, there seems to be some apathy," Ms Blackwell said. "Some people just don't want the practical difficulties.
"During the summer people are not really thinking about insulation, but as winter moves in it will be different."
She also warned against some companies wrongly telling householders that they can get their money back for insulation work by applying to the council.
"We don't give retrospective grants," Ms Blackwell said.