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Warm Front Scheme lets down UK pensioners

But it has been a let down according to the Public Accounts Committee with only a third of the three million people in "fuel poverty" benefiting from the payments.

PAC Chairman Edward Leigh said: "The Warm Front Scheme seems to be failing many of the poorest and most vulnerable households.

"It is unclear whether the primary aim of the Scheme is to improve the energy efficiency of homes or to reduce fuel poverty. If the latter, then the Scheme is certainly still missing the mark a lot of the time, with only about a third of the genuinely fuel poor qualifying for help. And a full three-quarters of households who benefit from the Scheme are not in fuel poverty.

"Too much funding is also going to those whose dwellings are already energy efficient – nearly a fifth of those receiving assistance over three years. And over £15million was spent on measures which have a limited effect on overall energy efficiency and would do little on their own to lift households out of fuel poverty.

"As more families sink into fuel poverty, the Warm Front Scheme must be focused much more sharply on those households genuinely needing help.

"One in four applicants, in 2007-08, had to fund the difference between the Warm Front grant and the actual cost of the heating and insulation measures carried out. It is worrying that over 6000 households, possibly among the most vulnerable, withdrew from the Scheme as a result."

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