Don’t leave tenants out in the cold

When I read that HfI had made the decision to move to an 18-hour heating arrangement on estates, two things sprung to mind; the impact that this would have, in winter, on elderly neighbours, and how the closure of the Green Living Centre (also planned as part of these cuts) would compound the effect of moving to 18 hours heating.

While I am sympathetic to the arguments that moving from a 24 to 18 hour arrangement could save up to �300k and have a positive impact on the environment, I am concerned that a blanket “switch off” without any other measures could plunge some residents into fuel poverty.

Households do not need to be continuously heated in order to achieve healthy temperatures if they are properly insulated. The soon-to-be-axed Green Living Centre helped Islington residents by giving fantastic advice to households in how they could manage their energy to avoid the discomfort and ill health associated with fuel poverty.

While I reject the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition’s argument that cuts are necessary, I do believe that if we are to have changes in services, they need to be considered in the round.

If there is a blanket switch-off without the provision of effective advice, or without the necessary moves for insulation or renewable energy, we will be ensuring that the most in need of affordable warmth will be left out in the cold. – Becky Wright, Islington Green Party, via e-mail.