What is LA Flex?
Flexible Eligibility, often shortened to LA Flex, is a part of the UK Government’s new phase of the Energy Company Obligation Scheme – ECO3.
Councils and Local Authorities have the power to widen the eligibility criteria for ECO, allowing them to tailor energy efficiency schemes to their respective area.
This allows more residents, in addition to those claiming benefits, to qualify for ECO funding, often on the basis of low incomes, health, age or area, giving councils the ability to support specific communities.
LA Flex must define criteria that proves residents are either living in fuel poverty or are on low income and vulnerable to living in a cold home.
Local authorities can use LA Flex to help homeowners benefit from the installation of home energy efficiency measures. However, the Flexible Eligibility route is not applicable for social housing tenants. You can read more on what the government has to say about the ECO Scheme, visit the GOV.UK website by clicking here
What is the Difference between LA Flex and ECO3? Who is Eligible for either Free Boiler Scheme?
What is Eco3?
ECO3 is the core scheme brought in by the government. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) places legal obligations on larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic premises. It’s part of a system of grants given by the government in an attempt to become kinder to the environment by lowering the UK’s carbon footprint by 2050.
You might have seen the term “Affordable Warmth” thrown around. Affordable Warmth is focused on the part of the population most in need. This includes low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households. With ECO3, the Government has set the eligibility criteria which will result in approximately 6.6m households being eligible for the scheme. In addition, it will allow up to 25% of the obligation to be met through measures delivered under Local Authority Flexible Eligibility.
In a nutshell, ECO3 is a scheme created by the UK Government in order to reduce our overall carbon footprint by making home heating more affordable and more efficient. It focuses on swapping out old and less efficient boilers with new energy efficient replacements, as well as renewing cavity wall insulation, under floor insulation and ‘room-in-roof’ insulation. All of these aspects work together to make it cheaper to heat your home by requiring less resources (gas and electric) to heat it.
What makes LA Flex different to ECO3?
LA Flex is closely related to ECO3 in that it’s an extension to the ECO3 scheme. It’s essentially more funding given to Local Authorities to pin point those who fall out of the main umbrella of ECO3’s eligibility, yet still would greatly depend on the free funding schemes. It’s essentially the same scheme, with a different application process (for us, because we do all of the leg work for you).
It has a slightly looser set of rules that ultimately results in the same thing for you – a free boiler replacement, new cavity wall insulation and underfloor heating. Different Local Authorities have different rules and boundaries for LA Flex, but if you apply through Borthwick Heating and Insulation we’ll take your application to where it needs to go.
What are the Eligibility Criteria for LA Flex and ECO3?
Both LA Flex and ECO3 require the applicant to be the homeowner, if you’re currently renting then unfortunately you aren’t eligible for either of these schemes. They also require your boiler to be at least 7 years old. Over time boilers become less efficient with constant use – so if you have a 10 year old boiler that still has it’s “B” rating sticker on, chances are that it isn’t actually that efficient any more.
7 Years marks the time frame in which pretty much all boilers have worn down enough that replacing them makes sense. After this is where the requirements change.
For Eco 3 you have to be in receipt of a government benefit. This includes:
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit Element
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credits
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- War Pensions Mobility Supplement
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Child Benefit *
*If you claim Child Benefit we will need to ask some additional questions to check if you qualify.
With LA Flex it’s targeted towards those on low income but not on benefits and those in situations in life where living in a cold home could make things worse. This would include the elderly, pregnant women or those with a young child (under 5) and those with medical conditions that are worsened by cold environments.
Most local authorities would class ‘Low Income’ households as those with less than £27,000 as their total household income per year, but these figures do fluctuate in areas, particularly where the cost of living is higher than average. You must be a “Low Income Household” and meet one of the criteria which results in you being affection negatively by living in a cold household to be entitled to LA Flex Funding.
Need some help?
A member of our team will be more than happy to help you disucss your options. For more information and assitance please…
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