Rory is encouraging his constituents to make sure they have
taken appropriate steps to ensure their homes are ready for
Winter, as temperatures set to drop this week. Rory
has made tackling fuel poverty a priority in his constituency,
and is now getting behind United Utilities’s Winter Wise
campaign which looks to offer homeowner’s advice and guidance
on how to avoid frozen or burst water pipes.

A report published by United Utilities, has found that a third of
North West families could not afford to fix a burst pipe this winter,
while one in fifty say they would need to cancel Christmas. Fixing
damage caused by frozen household pipes that have burst has cost North
West homeowners around £578 million, making the average repair bill of
an individual incident an estimated £525. United Utilities has found
however that as many as one in three homeowners across the region
would struggle to even cover the £120 average call-out cost of an
emergency plumber this winter. A quarter would have to cut back on
basic food expenditure or seek a loan from family or friends to cover
the cost, while one in thirty would take out a payday loan. For a
tragic 58,000 across the region, it would mean cancelling Christmas
gift shopping altogether.

United Utilities’ customer experience manager Sally Ainsworth
explained: “Although we will fix the pipes in the street, pipes in
your garden and house belong to you or your landlord and we can
usually only offer advice. That’s what the Winter Wise campaign is all
about – offering helpful advice that can make a big difference. It’s
designed to raise awareness of basic steps people can take to avoid
this sort of misery and financial hardship. Our road shows will be
visiting a town near you over the next few weeks handing out advice
and free goodies. Come and see us.”

Rory said: “Our traditional build housing, and low average wages
make us very vulnerable to the threat of burst waterpipes here
in Cumbria. I would hate to think of families facing expensive and
unaffordable plumbing bills this Winter, simply because they were
unaware of the simple steps they could have taken to protect their
home in advance. This is a really important awareness raising
campaign, and I would urge everyone to take the time to make sure
their water pipes at home are ready for this winter’s cold weather.”

United Utilities’ essential tips for avoiding winter woes are:

• Lag your pipes so they are much less likely to freeze

• Find and label your stop tap – the tap which controls water supply
to your house, so you know where to turn the water off if you do get a

Following these simple tips may not just save unnecessary repair
bills, but also the hassle that accompanies burst pipe incidents. Half
of those surveyed by United Utilities, who’d experienced frozen or
burst pipes, said they’d had to live without water and heating for
several days. Some 32% had to take time off work, while one in ten
needed to eat out or order takeaways for a long time afterwards –
racking up the cost.

Sally Ainsworth stressed further: “Another big shock for a lot of
people is that, even if they are covered, insurers can reject claims
if basic home maintenance has been ignored. More than a third of
homeowners polled in the North West were unaware of this fact – and
42% didn’t even know if their policies covered plumbing emergencies.”

For more advice on keeping pipes warm and freeze-free this winter
visit If the worst still happens,
visit  to find your nearest plumber from
one of the seven UK existing Approved Contractors’ Schemes.

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