Calls for Sheffield residents shielding during Covid lockdown to get help to pay heating bills

Thousands of vulnerable people in Sheffield could be unable to heat their homes this winter, say the Liberal Democrats.

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:45 pm

Heating bills will be higher this year as people stay at home during lockdown and the Lib Dems fear people who are shielding will bear the brunt of it.

Government figures show that more than 25,000 households in Sheffield already struggle with heating costs.

The Lib Dems have launched a petition calling on Sheffield Council to use some of the discretionary hardship fund to support shielders who are unable to claim Winter Fuel Allowance.

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Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed

Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said Public Health England found clear evidence linking cold temperatures to respiratory problems.

“I live in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city and I know people are struggling. Not only are they worried about them or their family catching coronavirus, but they’re also worried about how to keep warm this winter,” he said.

Council Leader Bob Johnson said there were already schemes to help people, accessible on Sheffield Council’s website.

He said: “The council has Covid-19 Hardship Related Assistance where people having difficulties covering costs due to the pandemic can apply for support with heating bills.

“This covers support for people not just for heating but where people are struggling to pay for food and essentials or who are under threat of eviction because they can’t pay their rent.

“We already had a Sheffield Local Assistance Scheme before the pandemic which has also continued to support people. Together these schemes have supported over 500 people.

“In addition, the Winter Grant will run until the end of March and we have provided vouchers to nearly 30,000 children for food and utilities.

"We will repeat this in February and release a further £20 payment per week to the people eligible.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.