I have written in this column previously about how the cost of living crisis is hitting families across Blaenau Gwent hard and, in my office, we are speaking regularly with families and people across the borough who are struggling.

That is why I very much welcome the announcement from the Welsh Labour Government that they are extending the fuel support scheme by investing a further £90m in recognition of the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on those struggling to pay their energy bills.

This extension means that almost 200,000 more low-income households across Wales will be eligible for a £200 payment to help keep their homes warm this autumn and winter and that 400,000 households will benefit in total.

Thanks to the extension of the scheme, households on child tax credits, pension credits, disability benefits, carers allowance, contributory benefits and those receiving a council tax reduction will now be eligible for help.

The eligibility for the scheme is being extended as we know the current cost-of-living crisis is having a greater impact on low-income households.

People across Blaenau Gwent are struggling to pay their higher energy bills, which has been made worse by the increase in the domestic energy cap rise in April.

With the cost of energy and standing charges expected to rise again in the autumn it is right that the Welsh Government steps in to help people, here in Wales, where the UK Government has failed.

Households in Blaenau Gwent are facing a cost of living crisis thank to the economic choices, inaction, and mismanagement of the UK government. Soaring energy bills are having a devastating impact.

While the Conservatives continue to fail people, the Welsh Government is once again doing everything they can within their powers and budgets to support people.

Details of the scheme are currently being finalised, however, if you need support right now, the Welsh Government’s discretionary assistance fund is also available to help those facing financial hardship. You can find information and access that support by visiting gov.wales/discretionary-assistance-fund-daf .

Finally, there are many wonderful people and organisations across Blaenau Gwent supporting those facing financial difficulty. If you are a Blaenau Gwent resident and need help with signposting to appropriate support, please do not hesitate to contact my office on 01495 311160 and my team and I will do our best to help.