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Bid to tackle Islington's fuel poverty that kills 50 each winter

PUBLISHED: 16:58 13 May 2015

Approximately 50 people die every winter in Islington due to fuel poverty

Approximately 50 people die every winter in Islington due to fuel poverty

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Almost 20,000 people in borough thought to struggle to heat homes

Committee chair Cllr James Court: 'This is a crucial issue'Committee chair Cllr James Court: 'This is a crucial issue'

The chronic fuel poverty problem which kills an estimated 50 people every winter in Islington is set to be tackled with a raft of new measures.

An estimated nine per cent of the borough’s population – approximately 18,000 people – live in so-called fuel poverty, which is normally defined as needing to spend 10 percent of household income to maintain an adequate level of warmth.

A report by Islington Council’s Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee, delivered to the town hall on Tuesday, said that while the authority is trying to fight the fuel poverty affliction, more needs to be done.

It says: “The health impacts of fuel poverty had been well established. Older people, those suffering from long-term health conditions and low income families with young children are at greatest risk.

“Cold housing was believed to be the greatest single contributing factor to excess winter deaths and hospital admissions.”

Babies’ weight, children’s education and absence from work are also affected.

Cllr James Court, chairman of the committee, said: “One thing we found out is Islington already does a lot of things very well, but it’s a crucial issue and we don’t want to rest on our laurels.

“A key area is the private sector we pay housing benefit to. People understandably don’t want to speak out against their landlords, so we need the whole market to know what the standards are.”

Between 2010 and the first quarter of 2014/15, energy efficiency improvements were made to more than 19,600 Islington homes, but more needs to be done, the document says.

Recommendations the panel make include setting energy efficiency standards for council housing and housing benefit homes; encouraging landlords to install energy efficiency measures; adopting National Institute for Clincial Excellence guidelines on excess winter deaths; ensuring vulnerable people claim their full entitlement of benefits and lobbying the government for more investment in fuel poverty schemes, particularly in harder to treat housing.

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