You might not realise that there are dozens of grants and schemes available in the UK to help you improve your home, so check out if you’re eligible.
The Warm Front Scheme – this is a government scheme for residents in England which is set to be phased out over the next few years. If you own your own home or privately rent, you could be eligible for a grant of up to £3,500 towards heating and insulating your home or £6,000 if you heat with oil or alternative low carbon technology. This covers loft insulation, cavity wall insulation; draught proofing, hot water tank insulation, gas, electric or oil central heating and converting a solid fuel fire into a glass fronted one. You can apply if you have a child under 16 in your home or are pregnant with a MAT-B1 form or if you are receiving most types of benefits. People aged over 60 are also eligible. The scheme will be open to new applications from April 2011.
The Scottish Boiler Scrappage Scheme – the Scottish government have launched a new boiler scrappage scheme which runs from the 1st February till the 25th March 2011. The scheme will cost £1 million and will provide Scottish residents with a £400 voucher towards the cost of replacing an old, inefficient boiler (typically one over 10 years old) with a new Energy Saving Recommended boiler. Terms and conditions apply; find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here.
Energy Supplier Grants – the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) requires energy companies to help their customers make energy saving home improvements. As a result, energy companies supply all kinds of grants for home heating and energy efficient measures such as installing loft insulation. The government are also launching a Warm Homes Discount which makes it mandatory for energy companies to pay vulnerable customers £130 off of their electricity bills – this scheme is currently in consultation, so watch out for details.
Feed-in Tariffs – as of the 1st April 2010, you can earn money for the electricity you produce from renewable technologies like solar PV panels. The payments vary according to size and type of equipment. A generation tariff will pay out money for every Kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated; the rate of pay depends on which technology is used and is linked to inflation. If you choose to export energy to the grid, you can opt to receive a payment of 3p per kWh or decide to sell the electricity on the open market instead.
Home Repair Assistant Grants – these are available in Northern Ireland if you are ill, disabled or aged over 18 and on benefits. The grant provides up to £3,000 for help with making home improvements to the exterior of your house such as roof repairs. The grant also covers home improvements which increase the safety of your home, such as wiring and electric work.
Local Council grants – every area of the country has different home improvement grants available. Although the money comes from central government, the distribution is carried out at a local level subject to different conditions. So it is always best to check with your local authority to see what kind of home improvement grants you might be eligible for.
Grants from Home Improvement Agencies (HIA) - The elderly, disabled and those on low incomes can usually receive help with home repairs and improvements through their local HIA - there are over 300 across the country. The HIA can provide advice on what home improvements need to be made and assist with applying for grants.
HandyVan – set up by the charity Help the Aged, those over 60 with less than £20,000 in savings can benefit from help with home improvements. These free home improvements include adding security, locks and alarms to safeguard your house.
Winter Fuel Payments – this is a yearly tax-free payment available to those who live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. If you are over 60 you can get a £250 payment and those over 80 will receive £400. This should be paid to you automatically unless you don’t have a state pension or you only claim housing, council or child benefit – or no benefits at all. In this case you will need to apply.
Cold Weather Payments – apply during the 1st November and 31st March each year. A £25 payment is granted for every seven consecutive day that the local temperature stays at zero degrees or lower. Cold weather payments are available to those on benefits such as income support.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – the government aims to introduce the RHI across England, Scotland and Wales in April 2011. The scheme will give cash payments to those who produce clean heat at home through technology such as solar thermal panels and heat pumps. The government have allocated £860million to the RHI. It’s thought that tariff levels will vary depending on the size and type of technology but those who participate will get an annual payment for between 10 and 23 years, based on a metered system or estimated output. Find out more about the RHI here.
The Green Deal – from 2012 every household will be able to receive a loan of up to £6,000 to install energy saving home improvements such as loft and cavity wall insulation. The scheme will provide a free energy assessment to see what is best for each property before installing the improvements. The loan will be paid back through savings in household energy bills over time.
Energy Assistance Package – this is available to elderly Scottish residents and those on benefits. The package provides free advice on home heating and energy efficiency and benefits and tax credits. The scheme also supplies residents will new heating systems and measures such as insulation.
Warm Home Discount - is for elderly and vulnerable people. The scheme automatically provides discounts of £120 off electricity bills.
The Fuel Poverty Scheme – replaces the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in Wales and is aimed at the most vulnerable, hard to heat properties in Wales. The scheme will be open for applications in April 2011.
Warm Homes Scheme – is similar to the Warm Front, but is for those who live in Northern Ireland. It provides heating and home efficiency improvements to those on certain benefits or who rent homes from a private landlord.