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News release from: 28/09/2023

Free electric blankets will help residents most in need this winter

Free electric blankets will help residents most in need this winter

More than 530 residents are being offered the chance of a free electric blanket in a scheme to further help people in need through another winter of high heating bills.

South Cambridgeshire District Council will shortly be offering 532 residents the opportunity to claim a free electric blanket (also known as a heated throw) as a cost-effective alternative to central heating.

Residents selected to qualify will be those who are (as of 1 July 2023) claiming Council Tax Support and at least one of the following:

  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) mobility element at the enhanced rate.
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) mobility component at the higher rate.

These people have been selected because they experience mobility issues so are more susceptible to cold weather pressures and are experiencing at least some financial hardships, so are less able to afford their heating bills this winter.

Cllr Bill Handley, Lead Cabinet Member for Communities at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The cost-of-living crisis continues and is especially impacting people with mobility needs who are experiencing financial hardship. We hope that as many people as possible who qualify, will take up this free electric blanket offer. Data from Cambridge and Rural Citizens Advice has shown that, in 2023, they have made 637 referrals to foodbanks for people with disabilities or long-term health conditions. This is compared to 359 referrals for those without a disability or health condition, further highlighting the disproportionate effect the cost-of-living crisis continues to have on people with disabilities.” *see below

Qualifying residents will receive a letter in the coming weeks from the Council telling them they are eligible and how to claim their free blanket. Only people who receive a letter will be able to claim a free blanket. 

Analysis has shown that running an electric blanket costs just 5p per hour, compared to an average central heating cost of £2.03 per hour (Ideal Home, 2023). The accumulation of these savings over the winter months has the potential to provide financial relief to those residents.

Funding for the electric blankets comes from Council reserves at a cost of around £30,000 and was agreed at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet meeting in March.

*See Slide 17 of this link