Labour’s shadow minister for Energy and Climate Change, Clive Lewis MP praised Islington’s efforts to tackle fuel poverty in the borough whilst on a visit to an Islington family with Executive Member, Cllr Claudia Webbe.
Clive Lewis MP visited a family in Archway to talk about the difficulties they have had paying off energy bills and to hear about the direct impact of Islington’s Seasonal Health Intervention Network (SHINE) project – a service working to improve the wellbeing of those at risk of bad health from cold homes.
Winter conditions on average each year kill almost 60 people in Islington, that is more than those who die in suicide and accidents put together. With five Islington wards having the highest fuel poverty scores in London and an estimated 17,500 Islington households still living in fuel poverty, Islington Council is determined to tackle and prevent fuel poverty in every home in the borough.
This is why the services under SHINE, which Islington offers to families, are so important and has seen improvements in heating and insulation to around 21,000 homes since 2010 and helped secure energy bill discounts of £140 pounds each for 3,000 households since 2013.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said:
“During these winter months we should spare a thought for those forced to make choices between heating and eating. Our commitment to helping residents through our innovative SHINE project is evident in that, we have sent energy experts to more than 5,000 homes in order to assess the best ways of saving energy and give advice on cutting fuel bills.”
“Debt and the high cost of housing and energy or living in a cold, damp home can often be the root cause that makes poverty, respiratory illnesses and many other chronic health conditions worse”
“Whilst the council is continuously under immense pressure as our funding is being cut by central government, we are determined to hold on to the services that our residents benefit most from. And we know that there are many more homes to visit and many more residents to help, so we will continue to help cut energy bills, tackle the root causes, as well as keep our residents homes warm”
Clive Lewis MP, Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, added:
“Sadly, there are too many families who find themselves in the same situation as the family I visited today, those who are on a low income, living in a cold home falling into greater poverty as the system fails to recognise how urgently they need help.”
“The work of Islington Council has offered this family a lifeline, but they do this in the face of ongoing council cuts. At the same time, the government is rolling back on energy efficiency programmes which were brought in to improve the quality and warmth of homes. As a result, there are now over 4.5 million households now living in cold homes in the UK.”
“Just by visiting this Islington family today proves to me how vital it is that the government tackles this cold homes crisis. Everybody should have the right to come back to a warm home.”
Since 2010 Islington Council’s innovative SHINE project has helped over 10,000 people in the borough and saved £3 million in energy bills, mainly in part due to sending out energy experts to visit homes and provide advice and energy saving measures.