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 burst.

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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