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City council unveils action plan to lift families out of fuel poverty

Published: Tuesday, 5th December 2023

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is continuing to support residents who are living in fuel poverty with a brand-new five-year plan.

The authority has pledged to address fuel poverty in the city as part of its ongoing commitment to ensuring all residents can live in safe and warm homes.

It comes after new data found an estimated 22.1 per cent of households in the city are living in fuel poverty – compared to the national average of 13.4 per cent. This means Stoke-on-Trent has the second highest rate of fuel poverty in England.

The 2023-2028 Fuel Poverty Strategy, which looks set to be adopted by cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday 12 December, outlines the council’s plan to address the root causes of fuel poverty in the city over the next five years by working closely with partners to provide help, advice and support to struggling families.

This also includes an £8.8 million investment in central heating systems and £15 million to install energy efficiency measures in council-owned homes, which has been set aside as part of the city authority’s five-year capital investment programme.

This complements recently-completed work to upgrade 74 properties in Smallthorne with external wall insulation, windows, doors, roofs and ventilation systems – one of the first projects to be completed through the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero’s Social Housing Decarbonsation Fund.

Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning, said: “Our ultimate aim here is to lift households out of fuel poverty and help people to reduce their energy bills by providing them with all of the tools they need to be able to live in a safe and warm home.

“We know that living in a cold and damp home can be detrimental to a person’s health and wellbeing which is why we recently launched our DAMP campaign to tackle damp, mould and condensation. Now we want to continue to raise living standards in the city by making much-needed improvements to our housing stock and, in the long-term, reduce the number of families living in fuel poverty.

“We will do everything we possibly can to help improve the wellbeing and quality of life of our residents.”

The final 2023-2028 Fuel Poverty Strategy has been developed following a public consultation in the autumn.

As well as a commitment to making improvements to the city council’s existing housing stock, the strategy also recognises the need to raise the energy efficiency standards of newly-built homes and support fuel-poor residents living in privately-owned homes.

The city council has already attracted close to £3 million to deliver energy efficiency measures to around 300 privately-owned homes, through the Local Authority Delivery Scheme. The strategy outlines the importance of continuing to seek external funding opportunities to help fund further improvements to both the city council’s housing stock and private sector accommodation.