Cuts Watch #291: Warm Front
One of the casualties of last week’s Spending Review was the Warm Front scheme, which provides a grant (usually of up to £3,500) to people on low incomes to pay for insulation and heating measures, such as loft insulation, draught proofing, cavity-wall insulation, hot-water-tank insulation and installing central heating. The Department of Energy and Climate Change says that Warm Front will be replaced by a “smaller, targeted” version and then in 2013 will be replaced by the Green Deal. In the meantime, “energy suppliers will provide greater help with the financial costs of energy bills to more of the most vulnerable fuel poor households, through Social Price Support – with total support of £250 million in 11/12 rising to £310 million in 14/15.”
The Government will spend £110 million in 2011/12 and £100 million in 2012/13 on the cut-price version of Warm Front. The most recent figures for Warm Front itself show that £338 million was spent on it in 2008/9.
Friends of the Earth commented that this measure “will hit the poorest hardest”, pointing out that, under Warm Front:
More than 2 million homes have been improved in the past decade.
And householders have saved on average £650 a year on their energy bills.
Cutting this important scheme will hit the poorest hardest.
Insulating the homes of poorer families should have been stepped up in the spending review, not cut back.
We now need a comprehensive strategy to tackle fuel poverty more than ever. This must include a minimum energy efficiency standard for private rented homes to protect tenants.