North East England Chamber of Commerce is supporting Home Group’s campaign to urge Government to set out a comprehensive plan to tackle fuel poverty.
There is fresh impetus for this campaign as research by the Academy of Medical Sciences has shown Covid can thrive in homes where temperatures are less than 18 degrees.
Marianne O Sullivan, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “Government figures show 2.4 million households are in fuel poverty. With more people being encouraged to work from home and the economic impact of Covid. this number is likely to rise. Research has suggested as many as a further 200,000 people could fall into fuel poverty.
“The North East is already the region with the highest unemployment rate and the lowest average hours worked of all British regions.
“We back Home Group’s calls to Government to introduce a one off Covid-19 winter fuel payment of £300 for each vulnerable household, to ensure that people are able to heat their homes this winter. We also back their calls to energy providers to ensure standing charges are removed from the most vulnerable households and to have information and processes around switching tariffs made simpler.”
Housing associations such as Home Group are already taking action to increase relief funds, support vulnerable customers and bringing forward regeneration programmes.
More than 30 housing associations across England and Scotland, which represent 1.3 million homes, are lending their full support to the campaign.
Nusheen Hussain, Executive Director of Business Development at Home Group, said: “It’s simply not acceptable that up to 385,000 people in our region will struggle to adequately heat their homes this winter. We need to act now.
“Organisations from all sectors need to work with government and energy providers to support those who need it most. It’s great that the North East England Chamber of Commerce feel the same, and we’re absolutely delighted that they are fully behind the campaign.”
The Chamber sees real benefit in Home Group’s ask for Government to work with the housing sector over the long term to look at financial schemes allowing for new energy solutions for social housing such as rooftop solar panels and commercial models of battery storage.