With the colder weather well and truly here, a campaign has been launched to point those struggling to pay heating bills in the right direction for support.

According to the Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report, 30,876 Cumbrian households are "fuel poor", meaning their energy costs are above average, with their disposable income putting them below the poverty line.

The pandemic is expected to have a growing impact on fuel poverty, with more than 314,000 redundancies made in June, July and August.

In response, OFTEC, the trade association for liquid fuels, has launched a campaign offering support and advice on how vulnerable households can reduce their fuel costs, including by making full use of the energy payment and saving schemes available.

These include the Winter Fuel Payment, which most people over the age of 65 are entitled to, Cold Weather Payment, Warm Home Discount, Government Green Home Grants, and the Energy Companies Obligation Scheme.

Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC, said: “Sadly, we know that the impact of Covid-19 means many more households in Cumbria will struggle to affordably heat their homes this winter.

"This year, even more than most, it is crucial for homeowners to be aware of the support available to help them keep warm and well.

“Fortunately for the 14,000 oil heated households in Cumbria, oil remains the cheapest major fuel on the market, over £240 cheaper than mains gas, over £950 less than LPG and over £1,400 lower than electric storage heaters when comparing typical annual running costs for an average three bedroom house.”

He added: “Alongside making the most of energy saving schemes, I’d also encourage households to follow OFTEC on Twitter and Facebook for more tips on saving money on heating bills this winter.”

To find out more about OFTEC's guidance and advice, visit www.oftec.org.