Thursday, 24 April 2014

Landlords win access to £190m fuel poverty fund

Government responds to Inside Housing’s Green Light campaign by redesigning the energy company obligation

GREEN LIGHT LOGO

The government has made a major concession to the social housing sector by overhauling the design of its flagship retrofit policy so landlords can access vital fuel poverty funding.

In a win for Inside Housing’s Green Light campaign, vulnerable and fuel poor social tenants will no longer be entirely excluded from energy-efficiency subsidy after the £1.3 billion energy company obligation was reallocated three ways.

Now landlords will be able to access a new £190 million element of ECO which will subsidise loft and cavity wall insulation for 190,000 of the poorest households in England as part the green deal.

Climate change minister Greg Barker praised the campaign, which had called for equal access to green subsidies. Mr Barker said the changes demonstrated the government had listened to the sector’s concerns.

‘Inside Housing’s Green Light campaign has brought social housing issues to the attention of the public,’ he said.

‘We have introduced a new element to ECO… We expect one of the main beneficiaries of this £190 million funding to be social landlords to help further increase the quality of homes while at the same time enabling tenants to manage their energy bills.’

ECO funding is to accompany the government’s green deal programme, in which households receive energy-efficiency works for free with private companies footing the bill and recouping the costs through resulting savings in energy bills.

In a blow to the sector the government on Wednesday confirmed that, despite lobbying from landlords, energy companies and contractors, landlords will still be excluded from the £350 million affordable warmth funding on the basis that social homes are, on average, more energy efficient than those in the private sector.

However, it announced plans for a new £190 million a year carbon savings communities obligation fund which landlords will be able to access for loft and cavity wall insulation to the bottom 15 per cent most deprived communities in England. This means that £540 million of ECO will be focused on tackling fuel poverty.

The government is also widening the measures available under the £760 million hard-to-treat element of ECO so cavity walls are eligible. This means landlords can use a much greater proportion of the overall £1.3 billion ECO pot.

Pippa Read, policy officer at the National Housing Federation, said the news meant an additional 800,000 social households would benefit from energy-efficiency measures. She added that the NHF would continue to lobby for full access to ECO.

Nicholas Doyle, project director at 63,000-home Places for People, said: ‘This is welcome news, but while it feels like we are moving forward, with six months to go until the green deal launches, we still need more clarity.’

Related images

Readers' comments (1)

  • Social landlords need to get a move on if they are to get the full finacail benefit from these "free" energy saving deals. The big energy companies don't look like hitting their carbon reduction targets so the pressure is on DECC to extend the timescales which is likely to be accompanied by lower rates of funding.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters

Related

Articles

  • Government reveals cash incentives to boost green deal

    19 February 2014

    The government has today announced a series of cash incentives to boost the take-up of its ailing green deal retrofit programme.

  • ECO cuts put landlords’ retrofit plans at risk

    06/12/2013

    Government plans to cut back a vital £1.3 billion a year green subsidy have left hundreds of millions of pounds of social housing retrofit projects across Britain at risk.

  • ECO ambitions wrecked

    17/01/2014

    Nick Duxbury reports on the results of an ECO survey which reveal the potential impact on housing providers and their tenants from changes to the energy company obligation.

  • Davey claims cuts to ECO is 'good news' for housing

    9 January 2014

    Energy secretary Edward Davey has claimed that cuts to the £1.3 billion-a-year energy company obligation subsidy is ‘good news’ for the housing sector.

  • Worry over eco cuts

    17/04/2014

    A review of the energy company obligation could mean a step back for efforts to insulate hard-to-treat homes

Resources

  • Green guru - future proofing

    24/05/2013

    In a time of financial restraint, it is only by trialling and analysing the various funding schemes and retrofit approaches available that asset managers can successfully future-proof their social housing stock, says John Barnham

  • The rise of the bungalow

    24/05/2013

    Britain needs more bungalows, according to a new report. Here, Richard Baines examines if single-storey homes can ever be a sustainable - rather than simply popular - housing solution

  • A bright idea

    22/11/2013

    Why has a Sunderland-based social landlord set up a charity providing solar powered lamps to communities in Africa? Martin Hilditch finds out

  • Home help

    06/09/2013

    Welfare reform has piled financial pressure on tenants and their landlords alike. Alex Turner meets a former housing professional who quit her job to start a business she hopes will reduce rent arrears and improve residents’ lives

  • Back on the front line

    15/11/2013

    WM Housing chief executive Pat Brandum went back to the shop floor to experience first-hand how her organisation helps vulnerable young people. Alex Turner finds out what she learned