Leicester City Council Grant Information – 2023 Update

What grants are available in Leicester?

The two biggest heating and insulation grant schemes currently available in Leicester include:

  • Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO4)

£4 billion of funding over four years – the scheme started in July 2022 and it will run until March 2026

  • The Great British Insulation Scheme (previously called ECO+)

What’s changed for 2023?

Towards the end of 2022 Leicester City Council published their Statement of Intent for ECO4 Flex. They published it on 21st December 2022 and it can be found on their website at https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council/policies-plans-and-strategies/energy-efficiency/eco4-flex/

The Statement of Intent details the ECO Flex eligibility criteria and allows for people who have health conditions, a low-income or vulnerable households to access funding. This means that more people in the Leicester area can now access ECO4 and Great British Insulation Scheme grants.

What does Leicester Council say about the grants?

The Council says “The Council welcomes the introduction of the ECO4 Flex eligibility routes as it helps the Council achieve its plans to improve the homes of those in fuel poverty or vulnerable to the cold.”

The Council has stated that they require registered installers to provide the following information:

  • PAS2030/2035 certification
  • TrustMark registration
  • Gas Safe Registration (if installing gas appliances)
  • MCS certification (if installing renewables)
  • Funding access agreement with an energy supplier
  • Quality management and customer satisfaction policies
  • Data protection policies
  • Insurance policies

The council have published a list of approved installers on their website, and you’ll find our details listed there.

What involvement does Leicester Council have?

Leicester Council has a specific role in the administration of ECO4 grants, in that they only provide a declaration of eligibility to ECO4 Flex applications. They don’t need to be involved in ‘benefits’ applications and they don’t determine which properties receive funding. The registered installers administer the grants and request a declaration from the council if required. There’s more about the application process below, but essentially applicants apply directly with the installer who then takes care of obtaining the declaration.

Eligibility criteria for grants

The ECO4 scheme is designed to reduce the impact of poverty in Leicester and throughout the UK, while also reducing carbon emissions.

The two main ways to qualify are through either claiming benefits or through the council ECO4 Flex routes.

Claiming Benefits

If you have claimed any of the following benefits in the last year you will qualify:

  1. Child Tax Credit
  2. Housing Benefit
  3. Income Support
  4. Jobseeker’s Allowance (Income-based)
  5. Employment and Support Allowance (Income-related)
  6. Pension Credit (either Savings Credit or Guarantee Credit)
  7. Universal Credit
  8. Working Tax Credit

This is the quickest way to qualify and doesn’t require a declaration from the council, as the registered installer can request a data match from the DWP to confirm eligibility. There are no income rules if you have claimed one of the benefits within the 12 months before the installation.

If you have claimed Child Benefit but don’t claim any of the benefits above you could still qualify, but your household income must not exceed the following limits:

Single parent families

‍1 Child maximum income limit is £19900

2 Children maximum income limit is £24800

3 Children maximum income limit is £29600

4+ Children maximum income limit is £34500

Families with two parents

‍1 Child maximum income limit is £27500

2 Children maximum income limit is £32300

3 Children maximum income limit is £37200

4+ Children maximum income limit is £42000

Note: these income limits only apply if Child Benefit is the only benefit you receive, and they don’t apply if you receive one of the other benefits listed above.

Health-related eligibility (ECO4 Flex)

If you have a health or mobility condition you could qualify for grants. Because Leicester Council have now supported the scheme, if you have a health condition you could be eligible for both home insulation and energy-efficient heating systems (such as boilers and heat pumps). To be eligible for a grant, you must meet certain criteria related to your health condition, and your GP will need to complete a declaration to this effect.

Vulnerable households (ECO4 Flex)

If you meet two of the following criteria, you can qualify through being vulnerable

  1. If your home is in a Lower-layer Super Output Area (if you aren’t sure we can check this for you)
  2. If you receive Council Tax rebate (excluding single person rebates)
  3. If anyone living at the property is vulnerable to living in a cold home as identified in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidance. These would include households with an elderly person, young children, and people with disabilities.
  4. If you receive free school meals due to low-income
  5. If you are being supported by a council scheme, targeting low income and vulnerable households
  6. If you have been referred for support by an energy supplier or Citizen’s Advice, because you have been identified as struggling with electricity or gas bills

You’ll need to complete a declaration form to confirm that you meet the rules, and you might need to provide additional evidence so that the installer can submit it with the application.

Income-based eligibility (ECO4 Flex)

If your annual household income is less than £31,000 you can apply through the ‘income-based’ route. You’ll need to provide evidence to support the application, including 3 months bank statements, and income evidence such as a self assessment submission, P60 or a pension letter.

Types of grants available

Non-condensing boiler upgrades

If you have an old non-condensing boiler that is costing you a lot of money, these grants could pay to to upgrade it to a more energy-efficient model. If the property is eligible this upgrade would be fully funded, and in some cases you may also receive additional support such as heating controls, a smart thermostat, and insulation and ventilation installed at the same time.

Storage heater and solar grants

If you have inefficient storage heaters, you may be eligible for a grant to help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. This grant can cover the full cost of new high heat retention storage heaters with Solar PV, which could also be installed at the same time. To be eligible, you must have inefficient existing storage heaters.

First Time Central heating grants (mains gas)

There are generous central heating grants available for those who have never had gas central heating previously. The scheme offers fully funded gas central heating up to 100% of the cost per household towards the installation, including the cost and installation of a new gas boiler and radiators. If your home isn’t insulated, that will be included too (for free). It’s important to note, gas central heating grants are only available for properties that had a gas line and gas meter in place prior to 31 March 2021 under the latest rules.

Heat pump grants

There are a few grants available for heat pumps in the Leicester Council area. If you are eligible for the Energy Company Obligation scheme, the grants provide financial incentives for the installation of renewable heat technologies (including heat pumps). If you aren’t eligible for ECO, there is another grant scheme called the Boiler Upgrade Scheme that provides £5,000 towards the installation.

How to apply for a grant in Leicester

Here’s what you need to do in order to apply for a grant in Leicester:

Step one – Apply for a grant with a Registered Installer that has access to funding

Step two – The installer will advise regarding the types of grants you could get

Step three – If the installer thinks you meet the eligibility requirements, then it’s time to move onto gathering all necessary documentation (for example, energy bills and proof of eligibility)

Step four – Your installation will be arranged for a convenient time (usually within a few weeks of all the documentation being provided)

In conclusion, Leicester City Council’s support of the Energy Company Obligation Flex scheme is an important step in providing access to grant funding that can be used to improve homes in the local area. This means that residents of Leicester who may not have had access to grants previously could now access funding. It is now up to the individual households to take advantage of this opportunity and apply for these grants if they are eligible.

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