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Age Concern calls for reform

18th January 2006

Increased money from the government to extend the Warm Front scheme is not enough to ensure that older residents can pay their bills, warns Age Concern.

The charity has welcomed the chancellor's announcement that £300 million of additional funding will be used to provide people with adequate heating during the winter months.

It also praised the pledge by energy companies to provide free insulation to those on pension credit but said that the real issue was a lack of support for people without the credit.

The current system is not doing enough to help residents who cannot afford to carry out repairs or pay their energy bills, according to the charity, while a complete reform of the pensions system is needed.

"News that the payment will continue to be paid each year will reassure many older people," said Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern.

"What older people really need, however, is radical reform of the pensions system which ensures that they have enough money in their pockets to cover essential costs."

Over 31,000 elderly residents died last year as they were unable to adequately heat their homes, Mr Lishman pointed out, emphasising the importance of taking immediate action.