Most Brits would like to see Winter Fuel Payments made available to everyone who needs it – regardless of their age, a study found.
Researchers who polled 2,000 UK adults found two thirds think the scheme should be expanded to support anyone who is currently living in hardship.
And 59 per cent of existing beneficiaries think it should too – while 34 per cent admit they don’t really need the allowance.
Of these, a quarter say they don’t use the funds to keep their house warm – instead using it to buy gifts, groceries and to help pay for Christmas.
Commissioned by npower, the research also found 38 per cent of those who receive the payments wish it was easier to opt out of the scheme – so others in need could benefit from it.
Following the study, the utilities provider is inviting those who receive the benefit and don’t feel they need it to donate the allowance to charity.
Carried out through OnePoll.com, the survey also found those polled have the heating on for an average of five hours and 43 minutes a day during winter.
Matthew Cole, chair of the npower Foundation Fuel Bank Charity said: “The Fuel Bank was launched by npower in 2015 and since that time over 116,000 people have been supported.
“We’ve ensured that some of the most vulnerable people in our country get heat, power and hot water when they have been doing without.
“Now formally established as a charity we want to expand beyond the places where we already operate, to ensure that more people don’t have to choose between heating or eating this winter”
“The npower Fuel Bank aims to remove the stark choice between heating and eating by providing help for Foodbank users who have prepayment meters and are struggling to pay for gas and electricity, regardless of their energy supplier.
“A Fuel Bank voucher is worth £49 in winter and provides around two weeks’ worth of gas or electricity, helping people to have hot meals, hot showers and heat their homes.”