[holding answer 23 March 2009]: The Prime Minister’s announcement saw a £74 million increase in funding for the Warm Front Scheme, offering grants for central heating and energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor. Over 37,000 households have been assisted to date with this additional funding.
Also the weekly rate for cold weather payments was increased from £8.50 to £25. Over 8 million payments were made during winter 2008-09—at a value of £209 million.
Following full public consultation, the Government have laid the statutory instruments giving effect to the proposals for the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) and the increase in the Carbon Emissions Reductions Target (CERT), subject to parliamentary approval.
Of the £25 million made available in Budget 2009 to fund low-carbon community heating schemes, £20.96 million is being administered by the Homes and Communities Agency to fund at least 10 exemplar schemes in England. It is anticipated that all of the funding will be provided to successful schemes in 2009-10. The remainder of the funding was made available to the devolved Administrations in line with the Barnett formula and is a matter for them.
The criteria used to select recipients of the new funding for low carbon community heating schemes include:
Novelty, innovation or exemplar quality;
Support for new housing development or refurbishment of existing buildings;
Value for money;
Progress of the scheme and ability to deliver quickly, and to timescales;
Help for people affected by fuel poverty; and,
Ability to leverage additional public or private funding.