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Labour ministers back fuel poverty campaign

Senior Labour politicians have pledged their support for Inside Housing’s campaign to ensure social landlords can access vital green subsidies to combat fuel poverty.

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Labour ministers back fuel poverty campaign

Green light logo

Shadow secretary for energy and climate change Caroline Flint and shadow housing minister Jack Dromey joined landlords representing 1.4 million homes, charities and companies this week in throwing their weight behind the Green Light campaign.

The Labour heavyweights were joined by shadow communities minister Chris Williamson and shadow minister for planning and procurement Roberta Blackman-Woods in backing the campaign, as landlords across Britain saw their plans to lower tenants’ fuel bills fall by the wayside.

Last week, social housing providers learned they would face an especially heavy cut to the feed-in tariff - a government payment to producers of renewable electricity - from 43.3p/kilowatt hour to 16.8p/kWh from 12 December. The cut will render many landlords’ solar photovoltaic schemes unviable, meaning hundreds of thousands of tenants will miss out on millions of pounds of energy bills savings.

Coupled with government moves to exclude social landlords from the fuel poverty element of the energy company obligation fund, landlords are worried they will struggle to deliver energy savings under the government’s green deal retrofit scheme and protect tenants from fuel poverty.

Ms Flint said: ‘By cutting the subsidy for multi-installations even further, the announcement effectively ends solar power for social housing, with many councils and housing associations scaling back, or scrapping their plans for solar.’

Mr Dromey, who was appointed Labour’s shadow housing minister in October, said: ‘Government plans to exclude social landlords from accessing the multi-billion pound ECO fund will put at risk the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society. It cannot be right that social tenants will be excluded from a funding pot that is created from everyone’s energy bills.’

Groups representing millions of social tenants and thousands of landlords, alongside private companies ranging from energy giant E.ON, to Good Energy, Carillion and Lakehouse have also backed Green Light.

Campaign aims

Green Light has two main aims. It calls for:

  • equal access to energy company obligation funding for social landlords - the government plans to exclude social landlords from the fuel poverty element of ECO funding
  • social housing photovoltaic schemes to be classified not as aggregated schemes but as community projects, which the government has said it would consider helping to ‘fully benefit from FIT’

 


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