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Govt winter fuel cuts sends shivers down Havering pensioners’ spines

PUBLISHED: 13:02 24 November 2011

of veteran Denis O'Flynn

of veteran Denis O'Flynn

Archant

Vulnerable Havering pensioners say they’ve been left out in the cold under drastic government cuts to winter fuel payments.

Elderly residents in the borough admitted they’ll now struggle to pay energy bills after payments were slashed by up to £100.

Under the plan, winter fuel payments have been cut from £250 to £200, and from £400 to £300 for those aged 80-and-over.

A 77-year-old woman from in Harold Hill who didn’t wish to be named, said she would be forced to switch the lights off and cut down on food to meet her winter bills.

She said: “It’s disgraceful. At the same time the electric is going up they’re cutting our payments.

“I can’t afford to keep leaving the heating off because I have lung problems.”

Sheila Hills, 77, of Romford, vowed not to skimp on heating due to her 77-year-old husband Sidney’s frail condition battling prostate cancer.

She added: “We only just managed to pay the bills last year. If we can’t now, they daren’t cut us off.”

Cllr Denis O’Flynn also slammed the cuts, saying: “With rising fuel bills now it’s more essential than ever that the Government is realistic about the support it provides.”

The cuts come as London mayor Boris Johnson came under fire for failing to deliver on an energy efficiency scheme in Havering.

Of the 97,000 homes across the borough which the mayor pledged to give a carbon makeover to, just 1,462 had been completed.

London Assembly member Murad Qureshi said: “London has some of the worst insulated homes in the country and disgraceful levels of fuel poverty. This is a great scheme and it should be helping households across London to reduce their bills. It’s a scandal that so many households in Havering are still waiting.”

Pensioners seeking energy-saving tips or advice on benefits are urged to book an appointment with Age Concern Havering.

Head to HOPWA House, Inskip Drive Hornchurch, on Mondays from 10am to 12pm.

To book your place, call: 01708 796602.


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