Shropshire Star

Park home residents in Shropshire want energy bill help NOW

Residents living in park homes are calling for the help of their MP to help expedite payment of Government funding towards their energy bills.

Residents of Breton Park in Muxton have yet to receive any money towards energy bills from the Government. They use butane gas and are off-grid. In Picture L>R: Lesley, Gordon, Christine Lawrie, Dave and Mary.

Those living at Breton Park, Muxton say they have not received the £400 previously promised by the Government and fear a further £200 payment will also be delayed.

Now Christine Lawrie, chairman of the Breton Park Residents Association, has written to MP Mark Pritchard asking what is being done to speed up the payment process.

She said: "There are 92 homes on site which is for over-55s or semi-retired people but many of those here are in their 70s.

"The park home community both locally and nationally is suffering because the £400 promised towards energy bills has not been paid.

"Our electricity payments are made through a separate account with the park owner.

"We do not have a direct energy supplier.

"The Government initially said that the money would be through a form online in January and that the money would be paid through the local council.

"We have not seen this form.

"The Right Honourable Graham Stuart MP announced in Parliament that the application process would not now be available until February 27.

"Several MPs have expressed their concern about the delays.

"There is another payment of £200 said to be due in February but residents do not have money for their butane gas.

"Two bottles of gas cost between £135 to £160 and last on average about four weeks.

"I do not want my residents worrying about this and about having to fill in forms."

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard said: "I am pleased the Government has set aside extra funding for energy bill support for households which do not have a direct relationship with an energy supplier, such as Shropshire's park home residents.

"I have asked Ministers to ensure delays in bringing forward these payments are resolved as soon as possible.

"The payments are approved but they need to be distributed without delay."

In an announcement on Monday the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said from this week, households who don’t use mains gas for heating will start receiving £200 towards their energy bills as the Government's Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme launches.

Most will get the £200 automatically as a credit on their electricity bill, but some customers will need to apply for the support later this month.

The vast majority, including many homes in rural areas, will get it automatically through their electricity supplier as a credit on their bill throughout February.

"A small minority of customers, such as those living in park homes or on static houseboats with no direct energy supplier, will need to apply to receive the payment through an online portal that will launch later this month," said the statement.

Minister for Energy and Climate Graham Stuart said: "Our main energy bill support schemes have seen millions of homes and businesses across the country get much needed help to cover costs, with figures today showing nearly £3 billion in government support has been paid out to business to date. Now we’re getting support to those remaining few that are off the gas grid and most difficult to reach.

"I am determined to see households and businesses of all stripes protected from global pressures this winter – whether that’s those living in a houseboat, park home or operating a rural hospital or school.

"That’s why we are kicking off payments of £200 to households using alternative fuel to heat their homes today - while businesses and organisations using alternative fuels will receive a boost of £150 in the coming weeks."

Ministers are also warning households to stay vigilant to scams and only to enter their details on the government’s website, which will provide all official communications, if applying for support.