The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has committed £51m to help keep Londoners warm and tackle fuel poverty.
As part of his ‘retrofit revolution’ to improve the energy efficiency of our homes, the Mayor has secured a record £40.2m in Sustainable Warmth funding from the government to upgrade 3,200 fuel poor homes from Spring 2022. This will be delivered through his successful Warmer Homes scheme which will offer grants of up to £20,000 for heating, insulation and ventilation improvements to low income Londoners who own their own homes or rent privately.
To help Londoners this winter, the Mayor has reopened the Warmer Homes Programme with investments of £2.6m from City Hall and £8.5m from government which will support emergency heating replacements and repairs. Measures could also include insulation and renewable technology, such as solar panels and heat pumps.
London’s homes are responsible for one third of the capital’s carbon emissions and retrofitting is a key part of Sadiq’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency.
The Mayor’s announcement was made on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. It’s estimated that over 15 per cent of London’s population are fuel poor, meaning the capital has the 3rd highest proportion of residents living in fuel poverty in England.
Fuel Poverty happens when a household’s income is not enough to cover the cost of heating and powering the home. In some cases, it’s even costing lives. In an average winter some 3,000 Londoners die compared to the average number of deaths over the rest of the year. Of these deaths, around 900 are estimated to be due directly to cold and damp homes.
Record high energy prices and the financial impact of COVID-19 will plunge many more London households into fuel poverty this winter. The Mayor estimates as many as 75,000 more London households could become fuel poor from higher fuel bills.
Warmer Homes has so far made energy efficiency improvements to 1,759 households. Unlike previous retrofit programmes, which installed small, ‘light’ measures such as draft proofing and LED bulbs, the Mayor’s schemes focus on much deeper, more complex, whole-house retrofit (e.g. installing multiple measures simultaneously). This will substantively reduce emissions and put London homes on a path to net zero.
Alongside retrofit programmes, the Mayor’s Warmer Homes Advice Service offers local energy advice services for vulnerable Londoners and those on low incomes, including financial help and advice on heating homes and any energy or water debt that clients have, as well as onward referrals to income maximisation services. To date this service has supported over 10,000 London households.
To tackle high energy bills, the Mayor launched London Power in January 2020 to bring greener, fairer and more affordable energy prices. Despite challenges in the energy market, to date it is one of the cheapest Pre-Payment Meter tariffs in the market.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “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. That’s why from today, I’m reopening my Warmer Homes programme to support vulnerable Londoners this winter.
“I’m pleased that our £51 million commitment will directly help those living in ageing, energy-inefficient homes. This investment will help tackle the climate emergency and support Londoners with the skills they need for jobs in the green economy.”
Chief Executive of National Energy Action (NEA), Adam Scorer, said: Every home should be a warm and safe place but for over 530,000 households living in fuel poverty across London this winter is going to be very challenging. People struggling with energy costs are falling through the cracks of national programmes. I welcome the Mayor’s plan to help cut bills and emissions and improve health and well-being for some of the most vulnerable Londoners.
Minister for London, Paul Scully, said: “Our funding will offer crucial support to lower-income households across the capital, making homes warmer, greener and cheaper to heat, not only cutting emissions but also energy bills.
“With heating for homes and buildings making up almost a third of all carbon emissions, improving the energy efficiency of our homes will be a key part of ensuring we eliminate our country’s contribution to climate change by 2050.
“We 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.”