You may have seen over Christmas that I was in the Bolton News to highlight the problem of fuel poverty.
There are 14,800 households in Bolton facing fuel poverty and many more around the country. However, answers to my Parliamentary questions show that fewer households are receiving support from the Government to insulate their homes than five years ago.
People are being made ill and they are struggling with poverty because of poor housing standards. I will continue to lobby the Government to improve access to energy efficiency schemes so that more people can upgrade their homes.
Government policy on this issue also has little to offer people living in the private rented sector.
Tenants don’t have access to the schemes that help those who live in their own property, they are left reliant on their landlord to pursue this. But if their landlord chooses not to make the property energy efficient, it’s the tenant who will be spending more on energy bills.
I tabled a written question to Government Ministers to ask how many homes in England have an energy efficiency rating of D or worse, and to split that by the type of ownership.
While I think there is still much more to be done, we have seen some improvements in standards in both owner occupied and social rented homes.
Private rented is a different matter – not only are landlords failing to improve but the number of cold homes has actually increased.
We need to turn this around. Landlords are failing in their responsibilities to tenants if they are renting out homes that come with huge energy cost that put people’s wellbeing at risk.
I will be questioning Ministers further on their plans to encourage landlords to improve energy inefficient homes.