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Billbusting Special

Get the cash you’re entitled to

Stay warm and well this winter – there is help available

There are two government benefits available for when weather gets cold. For older people there is the Winter Fuel Payment, a tax free benefit. To be eligible you must be aged over 65. If you get a state pension or any other benefit then it should be paid to you automatically. If not you’ll need to make a claim.

The Cold Weather Payment is made when the average temperature is 0°C over seven consecutive days. This payment is £25 each time and runs between 1st November and 31st March. You should receive this benefit if you claim a benefit though there are restrictions, particularly on JSA and ESA. Check for eligibility here.


The government and energy firms have a range of schemes designed to help you save money in the long term. There are grants available for home energy improvements, free loft and cavity insulation, free central-heating boilers and grants for insulation and draught proofing. Visit the Energy Saving Trust for more details.


Quids in! and British Gas have teamed up to find ways to keep out the cold and cut down on energy use, so that we can all be snug as a bug on a budget.


  1. Set your heating to come on 30 minutes before getting up or arriving home and to go off 30 minutes before going to bed or leaving for work.. You will avoid heating an empty house which will just cost you money.
  2. If you can turn down your heating by 1°C, this can cut your energy use by 10%.
  3. Keep your radiators clear. Don’t put anything in front or on of them.
  4. Consider putting radiator panels behind radiators fixed to external walls.
  5. Use thermal or heavy curtains during winter. Keep them drawn after dark.
  6. Try to block all draughts around the house to help stop the heat from escaping.
  7. Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C.


  1. Always try to use a full load in a washing machine. Half loads waste energy.
  2. Use an economy programme on your washing machine whenever possible.
  3. Wash your clothes on a lower heat. Most modern washing powders work well at 30°C or 40°C.
  4. If the weather is fine, dry your laundry outside instead of using a tumble dryer.
  5. Don’t dry clothes on the radiators. It makes your boiler work harder than it needs to.
  6. Keep filters clean in your tumble dryer.
  7. Hang or fold clothes up straight away after drying them so they will need less ironing. If you’re going to iron, make sure the clothes are slightly damp, they will iron more easily.

Resource saving

Energy saving lightbulbs last up to 10 times longer and cost less to run. And of course, remember to turn off the lights when you don’t need or aren’t using them.

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