Fewer tenants get energy-saving help

Budget cuts mean less social housing tenants will now have insulation work funded

Budget cuts mean less social housing tenants will now have insulation work funded

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

THE NUMBER of social housing tenants set to benefit from energy-saving insulation work has dropped by 90 per cent.

Changes to how projects are funded means that only 990 homes have been recommended to benefit from home improvements such as insulation and boiler replacements.

A report on fuel poverty put together for Oxfordshire County Council’s health improvement partnership board says that under previous programmes, 9,832 households received energy efficiency measures in a year.

Housing support worker Debbie Hollingsworth, 49, who lives near Kidlington, is on the city council’s housing waiting list.

She said: “During the colder months people really struggle with having to put more money in the meter.

“A lot of people are in private accommodation so they’ve got no control over things like insulation and it is down to their landlord. Even if they say it will be free a lot of landlords cannot be bothered with all the stuff involved.”

The current funding scheme, Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), is an energy efficiency programme introduced last year.

It places legal obligations on the larger energy suppliers to provide energy efficiency measures to customers. The programme can pay for work like boiler replacements and loft and cavity wall insulation in social housing.

But under the ECO scheme, there have only been 990 homes recommended, with the report suggesting that uptake of these recommendations is very low.

The new set-up replaced the Government-funded Community Energy Saving Programme and Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, which both ended in 2012.

City councillor John Tanner, the executive board member for cleaner, greener Oxford, said: “Under this Government it has got tougher and tougher for householders to insulate their homes and that is regrettable.

“What the government has done is said that energy companies have a responsibility to invest money in measures which save carbon dioxide but because of the terms of the obligation in Oxford we find it almost impossible to get hold of that money.”

Tim Nicholson and his wife Joanne, who spent £60,000 converting their 1960s house in Benson Place into a carbon neutral one, say insulating homes can massively reduce bills.

Mr Nicholson said: “My understanding is that there is less funding available and it is a very narrow group of people who will benefit. It is absolutely crazy. Insulating our homes is one of the most positive energy-saving measures that we can do and is relatively cheap.”

A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “ECO scheme began in January 2013 and under Government’s proposals will continue to run at least until 2017.

“We are committed to maintaining ECO support for the fuel poor at their current ambitious levels.”

  • Our top stories:

Live blog: Hunt continues for Jed Allen as a town mourns murder victims

Oxford Mail:

8:11am Sunday 24th May 2015

Follow our Live and unrivalled coverage of the murder investigation in Didcot, updated throughout today

Man wanted after Didcot murders works for town council

Oxford Mail:

8:42am Monday 25th May 2015

THE MAN suspected of killing Philip Howard, Janet Jordon and Derin Jordon is employed as an apprentice gardener for Didcot Town Council.

Didcot murders: Smiling face of teenager with the sister he is suspected of killing

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 25th May 2015

CRADLING his baby sister Derin, this is a teenage Jed Allen, the man suspected of killing her and their mother in a house in Didcot.

Didcot murders: More than 100 police officers hunt suspect in three killings

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 25th May 2015

TRIPLE murder suspect Jed Allen was still being sought by police today in an operation involving more than 100 officers.

Top surgeon backs pro-Palestinian festival

Oxford Mail:

10:00am Monday 25th May 2015

AN OXFORD surgeon who performed Britain’s first successful heart transplant has backed the city’s first Palestine festival.

Locomotion gets festival fun moving

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 25th May 2015

BANK holiday weekend events got off on the right track on Saturday as visitors celebrated the historic locomotives on show at Didcot Railway Centre.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree