Flint: ban benefit payments for substandard homes

Private landlords whose homes do not meet minimum energy efficiency standards should be not be able to house tenants on housing benefit, the shadow energy secretary has argued.

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Speaking at an event hosted by Aldersgate Group earlier this week, Caroline Flint called for a register of private landlords to ensure tenants receiving benefits are not placed in poorly insulated homes.

‘The state should not be subsidising substandard housing, or lining the pockets of those irresponsible landlords, who fail to make sure their homes are warm and properly insulated,’ she said.

Ms Flint argued that such a move would also create employment by forcing landlords to improve their homes, and reduce fuel poverty by cutting bills.

The government has introduced legislation to ban landlords from letting homes in the lowest categories for energy efficiency, however this is not due to come into force until 2018.

Ms Flint also warned the government’s green deal initiative, which will see installers upgrade the energy efficiency of homes at no up front cost in return for a  cut of the energy bills savings, could fail unless the Green Investment Bank is used to subsidise the scheme.

She attacked the government’s ‘chaotic mismanagement’ of the reduction in the rate paid through its feed in tariff solar subsidy scheme, which is currently the subject of a legal battle, and questioned the impact this would have on other environmental initiatives.

‘How can the government encourage investors to support the renewable heat incentive, the green deal or any other green policies in the future, when a growing sector, built on a flagship policy that had cross-party support, was cut off at the knees with just six weeks’ notice?’, she said.

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