Minister recognises Cornwall’s work to reduce fuel poverty by 5,000 homes

Recent figures released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show that Cornwall has reduced fuel poverty by over 5,000 homes in a year.

On a visit to Cornwall by Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth Claire Perry visited Cornwall today (Friday 20 July) to learn about Cornwall’s Winter Wellbeing Partnership work in reducing fuel poverty levels.

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By 2030 Cornwall Council’s ambition is to remove a further 22,000 homes from fuel poverty.

Led by Cornwall Council working with a range of partners, the programme is making a real difference to people’s lives.

Claire Perry met residents who have benefited from the Warm and Well Cornwall programme which helps residents who are suffering from ill health and living in a cold and damp home to have first time central heating installed and insulation improvements.

Cornwall Council and social landlords have match funded £3.5million investment from the National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund.

Cornwall Council’s 2015  Devolution Deal was a key factor in unlocking funding to find better ways of working to help people who would not traditionally have received help under previous funded programmes.

The visit to Cornwall also featured a briefing on the Winter Wellbeing partnership, made up of over 30 organisations, to address fuel poverty.

Each winter the partners provide residents with help from emergency heating funds, advice on better insulation, switching tariffs, providing first time central heating systems and support to find employment.

The Winter Wellbeing partnership launched in 2010 and has helped 7,400 homes and prevented 818 hospital admissions. In the last year alone NHS saved £61,000 based on 63 hospital admissions prevented – every £1 Winter Wellness investment saved the NHS £3.15.

In 2017 Cornwall Council’s Wellbeing and Public Health team was funded by BEIS to work in partnership with Citizen’s Advice to develop two toolkits which would help local authorities and health services to tackle fuel poverty across England.

This week, following the success of the Energy Price Cap Bill through Parliament, the Government also announced that its flagship energy efficiency scheme will be 100% focused on helping improve over 1 million low income and vulnerable households by 2022. The cap, which will protect millions of households from unjustified price rises and poor value deals on their energy bills, coupled with the £6 billion energy efficiency scheme will help build an energy market that puts consumers at its heart and ensures that those most at risk of fuel poverty are protected.

Cornwall Council Leader Adam Paynter said: “Cornwall has been leading the way in tackling fuel poverty, and our programmes are held in high esteem nationally. They are providing real solutions to real people and making a difference to everyday lives. A warm and well home is a key foundation to people’s wellbeing and we’re proud to be contributing to reduced hospital admissions in the process.”

Claire Perry Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth said “Yesterday’s changes to the flagship ECO scheme will increase the proportion of the scheme that can be delivered with local authorities up to 25%. Combined with the scheme’s new innovation requirement, this will help Cornwall Council to work with Sarah Newton MP to give Cornish residents the ability to live warm and well.”

Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth said: “Ensuring local people live in warm homes is a top priority for me, that’s why I’m thrilled that Cornwall is leading the way in tackling fuel poverty. I have been part of the Winter Wellbeing Partnership work and Warm and Well Cornwall programme for some time and am pleased with the progress we are making. Today we’ve seen first-hand that installing the right heating and insulation can make a significant difference to the health and wellbeing of residents. The Government is committed to ending fuel poverty and I am delighted that yesterday’s announcements will enable the Partnership in Cornwall to enable many more people live in warm homes”.

John Pettigrew, Chief Executive of National Grid said: “The aim of our fund is threefold; to help to reduce bills, make fuel poor households warmer, and improve the health of people suffering the most severe levels of fuel poverty. “Around 4.5 million households across the country are in fuel poverty with people not able to heat their homes enough to stay warm and healthy. Many are struggling on low incomes and are relying on heating systems that are expensive to run or don’t heat their homes properly. In many cases, because of their circumstances or the type of property they live in, they can’t apply for existing grant schemes.”

“National Grid is making this significant voluntary contribution of £150m and has established the Warm Homes Fund in recognition of the challenges that people face living in cold, damp and energy inefficient homes.”

Jeremy Nesbitt, Managing Director Affordable Warmth Solutions added: “Solving the issues associated with Fuel Poverty continues to challenge many of our stakeholders and we are delighted to see the minister visit this exciting initiative and showing her support for the Warm and Well Programme that with our support is already making a difference to the lives of residents of Cornwall.”

Posted on 20 July 2018