Mayor urged to press Government to end fuel poverty in London

February 26th, 2018

Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, has urged the Mayor to press the Government to back measures to end fuel poverty in the capital. Mr Copley has written to the Mayor to call on his support for a £5,000 cost cap per property when meeting the domestic minimum level of energy efficiency in his Fuel Poverty Action Plan, which is expected to be published later this year.

Private rented sector tenants in London are at particular risk of fuel poverty. According to the latest available data, it is estimated that 335,000 households in the capital are currently unable to sufficiently heat their homes.

The Mayor’s draft Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London estimates that the inability to heat homes may have been a contributory factor in up to 4,000 Excess Winter deaths in London between 2011 and 2016. On a national level, the latest figures show that an estimated 9,000 people died during the winter of 2014/2015, as a result of living in a cold home.

The Government has announced that from April 2019, minimum energy efficiency standards will prohibit private landlords from renting out properties with energy performance certificates that fall below Band E in England and Wales. The Government plans to introduce a £2,500 cap on the amount that any private landlord would need to invest on an individual property. However, Mr Copley has raised concerns that this threshold is too low to effectively address fuel poverty in London.

After recently passing a London Assembly motion on the matter, he has written to the Mayor asking him to support a higher cap of £5,000 in his upcoming Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London, and to press the Government to adopt this measure.

Mr Copley has highlighted that this higher cap would allow urgent social and environmental work to be carried out as soon as possible, boost property values and secure greater savings for residents. In addition, evidence from the Government’s own assessments show that the adoption of the higher cap of £5,000, instead of the proposed lower cap of £2,500, would lead to 120,000 more households in England and Wales benefiting from better insulation over the next two years.

Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

“London has the highest number of private rented sector tenants in the country, and private tenants are particularly at risk of fuel poverty.

“This has a profound impact on the health of tenants in over 300,000 households in the capital that are unable to sufficiently heat their homes – and it is estimated that thousands of people in the UK die every winter as a result of living in a cold home. This is appalling and unacceptable.

“That’s why I am calling on the Mayor of London to press the Government to go further and support a £5,000 cost cap per property when meeting the domestic minimum level of energy efficiency, and to support this higher cost cap in his expected Fuel Poverty Action Plan.

“A higher cap would ensure that some of the most vulnerable Londoners are not left in dangerous and unhealthy homes any longer, as well as lowering energy bills for tenants. Landlords would also benefit from the increase in the value of the property”.

Ends

Notes

  • Tom Copley AM has written to the Mayor to call on his support for a £5,000 cost cap per property when meeting the domestic minimum level of energy efficiency in his Fuel Poverty Action Plan. The letter can be found here.
  • It is estimated that 335,000 households in London are currently unable to sufficiently heat their homes;
  • The Mayor’s draft Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London estimates that the inability to heat homes may have been a contributory factor in up to 4,000 Excess Winter Deaths in London, over a five-year period between 2011 and 2016;
  • On a national level, the latest figures show that an estimated 9,000 people died during the winter of 2014/2015 as a result of living in a cold home;
  • The Mayor’s Fuel Poverty Action Plan is due to be published later in the year. The draft Plan was published in August;
  • The Government intends to introduce a lower cap of £2,500 on the amount any that landlord would need to invest on an individual property;
  • In February, Tom Copley AM passed a London Assembly motion calling for a £5,000 cost cap on landlord funding contributions;
  • The Government’s own assessment undertaken late last year has warned that the lower cap will mean only 139,200 households in England and Wales will benefit from better insulation by April 2020. This is 121,000 fewer households than if the cap was set at £5,000.