PEOPLE living in cold, damp houses in Barnsley, or suffering from fuel poverty will be helped thanks to a joint initiative between different council departments.

Vulnerable households will get help in getting a new boiler via a heavily subsidised scheme.

Children living in cold and damp homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from a variety of respiratory problems as those living in warm homes.

Older people fall prey every year to excess winter deaths in part caused by living in housing with inadequate levels of heating.

Under the new scheme some 8,000 properties across Barnsley, both owner-occupied and private rented, are eligible and are being sent letters notifying them of the scheme.

Once people register their interest an assessment will be carried out by one of three contractors – Keepmoat Regeneration, Scottish and Southern Electric and Willmott Dixon – who will then carry out the boiler replacement work.

Coun Roy Miller, cabinet spokesman, said: "This scheme will not only help to keep people warm and assist with the cost of bills, but it will also benefit the environment with newer, more efficient boilers."

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