Northumberland County Council leader insists it IS helping people whose homes are heated by oil

Council leader Glen Sanderson.Council leader Glen Sanderson.
Council leader Glen Sanderson.
The leader of Northumberland County Council has hit out at calls for more financial support for people who live off-grid.

Many homes in the county, particularly in rural and coastal areas, are not served by gas mains and are kept warm by heating oil.

The price of the fuel is not regulated in the same way as gas and electricity and, as such, has increased significantly in the past 12 months.

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The average cost of 100 litres of heating oil in the UK stood at £94.53 as of October 2 – up from £61.39 last year.

Labour Group leader Scott Dickinson.Labour Group leader Scott Dickinson.
Labour Group leader Scott Dickinson.

The leader of Northumberland Labour, Coun Scott Dickinson, has called on councillors of all levels to put pressure on the county’s MPs to ask for more support for rural properties off the gas grid.

The government has offered £100, but Coun Dickinson says that is not enough.

He said: “With 62% of Northumberland being rural and coastal communities, many small communities are still not yet serviced by mains. They are paying a heavy price like many other households in Northumberland but in a different way, with different styles of heating.

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“Many suffer heavier winters due to their location, so they need help just like everyone else.

“Many of these properties contribute to Northumberland life, whether it be off-grid farmers or small communities. Nobody should be made intentionally worse off because of where they live.”

But the Conservative leader of Northumberland County Council, Coun Glen Sanderson, said the local authority had already put additional support in place.

He said: “I want to reassure residents about energy rebate payments, especially those living off-grid.

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"As a responsible council we know rising energy costs are a concern for many residents, and those living off-grid face particular challenges.

“Back in June we agreed a policy where off-grid households would receive a £400 payment from the council this month. This was to ensure they did not miss out financially compared with those households that are connected to the national electricity grid who will benefit from a £400 reduction in their energy bills this autumn.

“It is important that at a time when people are concerned about their energy bills, they have the right information that reflects the actual level of support people can expect.”