Friday, 17 February 2012

Tackling fuel poverty a priority for Plaid - £500,000 extra for new heating

Plaid Cymru Councillor Arfon Jones has called on Wrecsam Council to do more to assist those in fuel poverty by increasing the amount of money allocated to heating council houses by half a million pounds this year.

Wrecsam Council’s Executive Board will discuss how they will allocate the £13 million Housing Capital Programme next Tuesday. Officers have recommended that £2.1 million is spent on heating from the Housing Revenue Account, but Councillor Jones wants to increase that to £2.6 million to speed up gas installations so that hundreds of houses and flats currently heated by inefficient Economy Seven Storage Heaters are replaced before next winter.

Cllr Jones, who represents Gwersyllt West, said:
“We know that hypothermia is a big killer and that fuel poverty is an issue for many of our tenants. Despite that, we are allowing some tenants to spend up to half of their disposable income on expensive and inefficient electrical storage heaters. We should allocate whatever resources that are necessary to convert the hundreds of flats and houses to either gas or air source heat pumps before next winter.

"We are neglecting our responsibilities to our tenants by not addressing the question of fuel poverty especially as there are cheaper alternatives available. The potential savings for a four-bedroomed house is a whopping £500 a year.”

Cllr Jones added:
“I have asked my colleagues on the Executive Board to amend the officers' recommendations and to increase the budget for heating to £2.6 million with the additional money coming from the budget for porches and window surrounds. This would improve the quality of life for hundreds of our tenants.”

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