COUNTY Hall is providing £500,000 to help people who are struggling to afford heating this winter.

The money, part of the Green Energy Fund, will help reduce winter deaths and cut carbon emissions through January and into February.

Funding is being provided to district councils who will use it to target those at greatest risk of their health being affected by having a cold home.

These include people living with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, mental health conditions, older people, people with disabilities, pregnant women and parents with young children.

Lancashire County Councillor Shaun Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "This funding is designed to help those who are more likely to have their health put at risk because they live in a cold home.

"Figures from 2014/15 show there were 992 excess winter deaths in Lancashire, with conditions affected by the cold generally accounting for almost three quarters of these.

"Also, unplanned hospital admissions linked to respiratory conditions are typically between 20 and 50 per cent higher in the winter months.

"Making sure people have warm homes is crucial.

"We have provided the funding to district councils, who will manage the scheme in each area and ensure help is given to those who need it most."