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Councils and Housing Associations urged to help tenants

Housing Minister Grant Shapps is calling on social landlords to help their tenants save at least £500 per year on energy bills. He wants them to start their own Green Deal that would allow money to be saved in the current time of high energy prices as well as create jobs in the local community.

With the Coalition’s Green Deal initiative due to start in twelve months time the minister is urging councils and housing associations to make their tenants life’s better by using existing funding to start a Pay As You Save scheme. Mr Shapps feels that by varying rents and service charges paid by their tenants they can gradually recoup a proportion of the upfront costs of the energy efficiency improvements and this would very quickly make a huge difference.

The CLG (Communities and Local Government) also agree that this will help make homes warmer and more comfortable to live in, and at the same time make them much cheaper to run. The comments of the housing minister and the CLG come at a time when millions of United Kingdom households are at serious risk of fuel poverty.

Projects similar to how the Green Deal will run have already started and could be copied elsewhere. In the largest scheme of its kind in Manchester, improvements such as solid wall insulation and better heating systems are currently being made to social houses which are all protected with insurance for landlords. The improvements will make homes more energy efficient, at no upfront cost to the tenant.

Grant Shapps said: “Our homes count for over a quarter of all UK emissions – it’s essential we do more to make them greener. And at time when tenants are feeling the pinch of high energy prices, it is more important than ever that social landlords use this opportunity to take the simple steps that could save their tenants hundreds of pounds through reduced bills. Measures such as the Green Deal will make a huge difference to the lives of tenants, and help landlords in their efforts to make their homes cleaner and greener. By making the most of the opportunities that are available now, social landlords can get a head start on upgrading their homes and give an immediate shot in the arm to the local economy.”

By Simon Dack

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