London Mayor Sadiq Khan is assembling a £51 million pot aimed at insulating the capital’s fuel-poor and leaky homes. Grants of up to £20,000 per home will be available next spring.
The mayor revealed last week on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day that he had secured over £40 million from D-BEIS’ Sustainable Warmth Fund, ready to upgrade as many as 3,200 fuel poor homes in the capital.
Added to £8.5 million from the municipal rump of the Conservatives’ abandoned Green Homes Grant scheme, and to £2.6 m from City Hall coffers, the London mayor’s Warmer Homes Scheme will be available to low-income Londoners who rent privately or own their homes.
Before the increased rates kick in, London’s earlier Warmer Homes scheme made grants up to £10,000 to over 1,700 homes, covering ‘deep retrofit’ upgrades such as heat pumps, whole-building insulation and multiple measures.
Around 900 Londoners die each winter in cold and damp homes, City Hall estimates. Over 15% of the capital’s households are already fuel-poor; this winter’s rising fuel costs are likely to push another 75,000 into the bracket, towards a total thought by campaigners to be over 500,000 homes.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak wielded his axe in February over the Conservatives’ £1.5 billion national Green Homes Grant scheme, only six months after its launch and with less than 6,000 of the planned 600,000 homes upgraded nationwide.
Since then, England’s householders earning under £30,000 have had to rely on individual councils to dole out portions of the £500 million GHG money. No government measure currently available addresses at scale Britain’s notoriously leaking housing stock.
Only measures such as the Warm Homes Discount to offset winter fuel bills are directly and universally available.
Khan commented: ““It’s unacceptable that many Londoners can’t afford to keep their homes warm and instead suffer cold, damp conditions throughout winter. We know the economic impacts of the pandemic and rising fuel prices are likely to plunge even more London households into fuel poverty.
Minister for London Paul Scully said: “(The government) already have a strong track record in this area, and our £400 million of funding allocated to councils in London and across the country as a whole, will ensure we can go even further.”
Meanwhile supplier Octopus Energy has launched a twelve-week ‘Winter Workout’ challenge, offering its customers up to £64,000 from its new £2.5 million Octopus Assistance Fund. Users who contribute energy-saving tips can win big. Details are here.