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Calls for single movement from housing sector to tackle fuel poverty

Calls for public and private sector partners to work as a single body to tackle the energy performance of the UK’s housing stock have been made following a roundtable that took place at the House of Commons.

The ‘Warm Homes, Better Lives’ roundtable, led by 39,000-home Orbit Group, produced key recommendations to how the sector can best work with government to tackle fuel poverty and reach its target of ensuring all homes reach Band C by 2030.

Hosted by Geoffrey Robinson MP, at the House of Commons on 3 February, experts from housing, energy and public policy discussed how the housing sector can engage in a single, simple coordinated way aligned to government investment to tackle fuel poverty.

Dr Peter Bonfield OBE, who is leading the government review into future policy and investment into energy efficiency, attended the roundtable and identified the housing sector as a key delivery partner to engage through the review.

The ‘Warm Homes, Better Lives’ roundtable identified opportunities, such as utilising a single procurement model across the sector, and working towards a single strategy and quality standards, will be key to deal with the genuine equality issue properly and robustly.

It also called for a ‘combined investment’ in order to achieve government targets with its £640m investment per year.

John Barnham, head of sustainability, at Orbit Group, said: “Through a focus on the energy performance of homes, and aligning asset management programmes to government policy and investment under the same principles of tackling fuel poverty, sustainable tenancies and commercial viability would contribute some of the additional resource required.”

Discussions also explored introducing a legal and ethical ‘pay as you save’ model, where tenants contribute some of their net saving on energy post-retrofit, providing an income stream to supplement investment and help incentivise behaviour change.

The roundtable continues to explore the Orbit and CIH’s report ‘Warm Homes, Better Lives’, published in the autumn, which made recommendations to government as to how it can drive its long-term commitment to helping the UK’s 2.3 million households living in fuel poverty.

Orbit will now continue to work with Dr Bonfield to shape the housing sector’s role in the Bonfield Review that will be published in April.

Read the full write-up on the ‘Warm Homes, Better Lives’ roundtable here.

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